Microsoft plans to announce Monday the first three US companies to have met its criteria for specially certified ASP (application service provider) partners.
ManagedOps.com, Qwest Communications International and USinternetworking are the first US ASPs to be listed under the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program for hosting and application services, the companies said in a joint statement.
Microsoft had previously listed the UK operations Equant and NetStore as its only "gold certified" ASPs.
Gold certification partners must meet "rigorous certification requirements and must prove their expertise in a given solution area by providing real-world customer references," Microsoft said.
The company offers gold certification in five areas: e-commerce solutions, software products, support services, enterprise systems, and hosting and application services.
Executives from Microsoft, ManagedOps.com, Qwest, and USinternetworking will discuss the certification on a conference call to be held on Monday.