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Microsoft Resellers Upbeat About 2004 Prospects

In another sign that IT confidence is climbing, a St. Paul-based research firm on Tuesday said that its survey of more than 1,000 Microsoft Certified Business Partners showed an overwhelming number anticipate revenue growth over the next 12 months.

The report, which was commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by start-up SoftwareMinds, found that Microsoft's partners expect to see more black on their balance sheets.

The vote of confidence was almost unanimous. Ninety-five percent of those polled said that they expect revenue growth over the next 12 months.

"This is great news for Microsoft," said Kirsten Chapman, marketing vice president at SoftwareMinds. "Microsoft relies more on its business partners than most other top tier vendors; unlike some competitors, they don't really sell direct. The partners are Microsoft's sales channel."

The optimism among Microsoft's partners means good news for Microsoft, good news for the IT industry as a whole, she said.

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