This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2016-02-09 at 5:02 p.m.
The permanent URL for this article is: http://tidbits.com/article/16255
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Microsoft Mum on Office Accreditation Program Future

by Adam C. Engst

Here’s one for those of you who are Apple consultants or IT professionals. For the past few years, Microsoft has offered the Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS Accredited Support Professional program, consisting of a half day of training and evaluation, and culminating in an accreditation for those who passed the exam.

The program was popular with technical folks who found it useful for reviewing Office features and capabilities, learning key troubleshooting tactics, and getting a chance to talk directly with Microsoft reps. The accreditation is well-regarded as a tool for self-promotion too, since it has helped consultants demonstrate Office expertise to clients, and gave enterprise IT support engineers a leg up when applying for a raise or promotion.

Historically, the program has been offered in advance of the MacTech events that take place around the country, but when the schedule for the MacTech Pro 2016 series was announced (see “MacTech Pro 2016 Dates and Locations Announced [1],” 29 January 2016), Microsoft made no mention of the accreditation program.

I reached out to Microsoft and was given this statement a week later:

Microsoft remains committed to IT Pros on the Mac platform and we recognize that the Accreditation Program has historically proved an important venue. We’re in the process of evaluating options for 2016, but don’t have anything to share at this time. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

Simultaneous with my January 29th article about MacTech Pro, concerned users started a thread on Microsoft’s community forums [2] to praise the program and ask what was happening with it in the future. As with Apple’s community forums, there’s no way to know if anyone from Microsoft actually reads them, and no Microsoft representative has weighed in there.

When I pressed Microsoft’s PR reps for a timeline on when more details might be forthcoming, I was told simply that there was nothing additional to share and that I would be notified if there were. Frankly, it sounds like Microsoft is suffering from some internal confusion about what’s going on.

It would make no sense for Microsoft to choose this year to pull back on this program, given that we’ve now seen releases of Office for the iPad (“Office for iPad: A Deep Look [3],” 3 April 2014), iPhone (“Microsoft Office Comes to the iPhone, and It’s Free [4],” 7 November 2014), and Mac (“Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Office 2016 for Mac [5],” 6 March 2015). Dropping the program would send the message that Microsoft may make Mac and iOS software, but it’s not committed to the larger Apple community.

Should anything change, we’ll be sure to let you know.

[1]: http://tidbits.com/article/16230
[2]: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2016-macstart/details-on-office-for-mac-accreditation-2016/e67545e5-c3dc-4c42-9041-0dd9c15f125c
[3]: http://tidbits.com/article/14647
[4]: http://tidbits.com/article/15217
[5]: http://tidbits.com/article/15469