Aspect Communications announced that Microsoft purchased the Aspect Customer Relationship Portal to standardize its product support services team of nearly 5000 professionals in 12 North American locations over the next 18 months. “Providing our customers with a consistent support experience—whether they approach us by Web, phone, or e-mail—is fundamental to our continued success,” says Ed Benack, Microsoft’s director of product support services customer central. The agreement includes products and services that began shipping earlier this month. The Aspect solutions will be developed and tested in research and development lab and test centers at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, facility and Aspect’s San Jose, California, headquarters. “Aspect’s standardization on Microsoft platforms, such as Microsoft Windows NT and SQL Server, … provides us with an elegant solution that integrates well into our infrastructure,” says Joe Sinclair, Microsoft’s group manager for the IT telecom engineering team.