Technology leader Microsoft established its certified partner program to collaborate with other companies in varying sectors of the technology industry. Companies meeting the highest standards of the program receive Gold Certified Partner status.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partners must employ a minimum number of Microsoft certified professionals who have passed certification exams administered by Microsoft. The company must also be enrolled in one or more Microsoft competencies. To earn a competency, the company must meet certification and sales requirements, as well as submitting competency-specific customer referrals.
As of September, 2010, Microsoft features 28 competencies for which partners can apply. These include digital marketing, mobility and search.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partners have the opportunity to build a close working relationship with Microsoft. Partners are guaranteed phone-based account management from Microsoft. The companies also receive priority listing in the Microsoft Resource Directory and on Microsoft's Solution Finder website.