Blackbird Group Attains Gold Certified Partner Status in Microsoft Partner Program

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Blackbird further distinguishes itself by earning a Microsoft competency in both Security Solutions and ISV Software Solutions

By attaining this highest level of certification in the Microsoft Partner Program, we will be able to better leverage Microsoft technology and other benefits to further enhance the identity and access offerings we provide for customers.

The Blackbird Group today announced it has attained Gold Certified Partner status in the Microsoft Partner Program with a competency in both Security Solutions and ISV Software Solutions, recognizing Blackbird's expertise and impact in the technology marketplace. As a Gold Certified Partner, the Blackbird Group has demonstrated expertise with Microsoft technologies and a proven ability to meet customers' needs. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners receive a rich set of benefits, including access, training and support, giving them a competitive advantage in the channel.

The Blackbird Group helps companies better meet the increasingly strict industry regulations (such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and PCI) and internal security initiatives. The powerful Blackbird Management Suite streamlines Active Directory management by seamlessly guiding IT administrators through the entire identity and access lifecycle -- including real-time Active Directory auditing, compliance reporting, protection, and recovery. With intuitive workflows, integrated dashboards, and automated, centralized AD reporting, Blackbird Management Suite improves IT effectiveness and productivity.

"We are extremely pleased to become a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner," said Christian Ehrenthal, CEO at Blackbird Group. "By attaining this highest level of certification in the Microsoft Partner Program, we will be able to better leverage Microsoft technology and other benefits to further enhance the identity and access offerings we provide for customers."

"Customers are looking for partner companies that can bridge the gap between their business demands and technology capabilities," said Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft Corp. "They need to trust in a company that can act as an expert adviser for their long-term strategic technology plans. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners, which have certified expertise and direct training and support from Microsoft, can build a positive customer experience with our technologies. Today, Microsoft recognizes the Blackbird Group as a new Gold Certified Partner for demonstrating its expertise in providing customer satisfaction using Microsoft products and technology."

As one of the requirements for attaining Gold Certified Partner status, the Blackbird Group had to declare a Microsoft Competency. Each Competency has a unique set of requirements and benefits, formulated to accurately represent the specific skills and services that partners bring to the technology industry.

The ISV/Software Solutions Competency recognizes the skill and focus partners bring to a particular solution set. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners that have obtained this competency have a successful record of developing and marketing packed software based on Microsoft technologies.

The Security Solutions Competency is designed to recognize the unique skills and requirements of partners specializing in delivering security-based solutions. Microsoft partners enrolled in this competency have proven their expertise in advanced security solutions to help protect customer information assets by building solutions such as identity and access management solutions.

"Our customers tell us that they want integrated solutions, and we are listening and delivering in a way that no one else is," said John "JG" Chirapurath, Director of Marketing for the Identity and Security Division at Microsoft Corp. "By bringing together the platform, applications, identity infrastructure, and security and management to deliver integrated solutions, we're ensuring our customer's success by helping them to save time, reduce costs and protect their environment."

The Microsoft Partner Program was launched in October 2003 and represents Microsoft's ongoing commitment to the success of partners worldwide. The program offers a single, integrated partnering framework that recognizes partner expertise, rewards the total impact that partners have in the technology marketplace, and delivers more value to help partners' businesses be successful.

About the Blackbird Group
The Blackbird Group is a leader in identity and access management. Blackbird's innovative solutions help organizations make the most of their technology investments and Windows infrastructure -- with simpler compliance, streamlined governance, increased IT efficiency, and greater application availability. The Blackbird Group is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with more than two million installed seats worldwide. Founded in 2002, the Blackbird Group is a privately held company. Corporate headquarters are in Manhattan, New York with offices located throughout Europe. For more information, visit http://www.blackbird-group.com.

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Kristin Lindstrom
The Blackbird Group
212-380-1465 ext. 81
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