Win2K: 'Most important launch'

Win2K: 'Most important launch'

Microsoft Australia has revealed a massive multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to promote Windows 2000, including more than $1 million devoted to training the channel.

The software giant has planned a campaign encompassing both direct marketing and advertising, and channel-specific training programs.

'Windows 2000 is the most important launch in the company's history,' said Microsoft's product marketing manger for Windows, Paul Roworth. 'Our success is absolutely tied to the channel.'

Microsoft's activities include the official launch at Fox Studios on February 18, advertising, direct marketing, electronic marketing, and point-of-sale material for retail outlets.

Apart from its marketing effort, Microsoft has developed specialised training programs to ensure that the channel is ready for Windows 2000. More than $1 million has been spent on subsidised training for Microsoft-certified solution providers, members and value-added partners, as well as developers, senior IT architects and other IT professionals.

A key element to the campaign has been a series of educational roadshows with segments for the reseller channel, software developers and IT or business managers.

Roworth claims more than 10,000 people attended the roadshows in 17 cities around the country.

Microsoft has also created a Channel Readiness Kit that includes sales and marketing resources, technical tools, training tools and Windows 2000 final release evaluation code. More than 5000 of these kits have already been distributed to the channel. With all this effort, it's not surprising the feedback from Microsoft partners has been overwhelmingly positive.

'Microsoft's marketing is fantastic' enthused Darron Lonstein, director of technical marketing for Microsoft systems integration company Com Tech.

'It's mainly been factual,' added Eric Freeman, Microsoft alliance manager for Compaq. 'The reason they got such large audiences at the roadshows is that the audiences were getting the information they require. It's business oriented.'

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