Computacenter Plc, the UK-based seller of PCs and related services, has become a Microsoft alliance partner. The deal will see Computacenter pushing a selection of Microsoft software and offering implementation and support services for the corporate market. Computacenter claims that the deal will lead to the creation of 1000 new jobs over 3 years, 900 in the UK and 100 split between France and Germany. The tie-up concentrates on Microsoft’s Exchange, SQL Server and Site Server software. Computacenter will sell, install and service Exchange messaging and groupware systems and integrate email systems and ‘back-end’ databases with Exchange. The company will build client-server systems based on SQL Server. Computacenter will also use Site Server to implement ‘bespoke’ e-commerce systems for customers. These bespoke systems are likely to include data management systems, online commerce and stores and supply chain management systems. At the UK press launch of the agreement, Computacenter’s CEO Mike Norris would not reveal how much the company planned to spend on training up the new recruits who will become either Microsoft Certified Site Engineers or Microsoft Certified Professionals. Microsoft President Steve Ballmer, speaking at the launch, brushed off suggestions that the deal was further evidence of Redmond’s anti-competitive behavior. The deal offers Microsoft the opportunity to leverage market share in the corporate desktop arena – especially in the workgroup and messaging fields, but Ballamer claimed that Microsoft still faces strong competition in the field, especially Microsoft’s Exchange package against Lotus Development Corp’s Notes/Domino groupware.