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Microsoft has launched a suite of tools aimed at driving greater networking and interaction between its Microsoft Certified Professionals and allowing them to differentiate themselves.

The software giant is giving MCPs access to the partner level of its Microsoft Product Support Knowledge Base, previously accessible only to Microsoft partners and Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs. It includes technical information not available to the general public.

In addition, the company is providing MCPs with social networking tools such as an MCP directory search capability and personal landing pages on the site.

The new benefits are among improvements Microsoft has made for its community of 2.2 million MCPs in preparation for the launch of the company’s Windows Server 2008.

To read about vendor efforts around IT certifications, click here.

Microsoft said MCPs can use the member directory search capability to find peers locally or nationally for professional networking, mentoring and community involvement.

The new landing pages for individual MCPs are expected to drive community interaction and MCPs’ visibility within the worldwide community, the company added. MCPs will define who can access their community profiles—the worldwide public, MCP peers or Microsoft only.

MCPs will also get new tools to help them manage their credentials. Transcript Manager lets MCPs download all credentials earned in both XPS and PDF formats. Certificate Manager lets them download high-resolution Microsoft certifications in both file formats within days of achieving the certifications.

“As new technology is released, Microsoft is investing in benefits for MCPs that provide ongoing value that will help them improve their performance on the job while distinguishing themselves from their peers,” said Lutz Ziob, general manager of Microsoft Learning, in a statement.