Following through on a commitment made last November, Microsoft has announced that their darling SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) product has just received the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 5015.2 records management certification.Also known by the more formal and much longer: Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications, the 5015.2 certification has emerged as an industry standard for records management applications used within the United States government.Why is the 5015.2 certification important?Kenneth Chin, research vice president at our favorite know-it-all research firm Gartner Inc., answered this question in a report from January of this year: "While highly regulated industries such as financial services, utilities and pharmaceuticals have always had records retention requirements, changes in government regulations, such as the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, will have an impact on companies across the board as they realize the need to implement records management to address new electronic discovery requirements,... Gartner recommends that enterprises use the DOD 5015.2 standard as a key requirement when acquiring any records management product, along with consideration of local standards."Although Open Text brought to market a solution in March that coupled their records management expertise with MOSS 2007 to achieve 5015.2 certification, this announcement allows the U.S. government to deal directly with an old and trusted partner in Microsoft.Moreover, Microsoft can now compete for lucrative records management contracts solely on its own merit without the assistance of a partner.Along the same lines, 5015.2 certification for MOSS 2007 brings Microsoft up to speed with competitors such as Stellent and Xythos who have previously received the valuable certification."As government regulations around information management and preservation have increased, many organizations have taken a hard look at their records management practices," said Jeff Teper, corporate vice president of the Office SharePoint Server Group at Microsoft. "We made enterprise content management a major focus during the development of Office SharePoint Server 2007, and we are pleased that our customers can now have the confidence of knowing it has been approved through the DoD's rigorous 5015.2 certification process."This announcement is a culmination of months of work by Microsoft's SharePoint team and more importantly makes good on a promise to an industry accustomed to the occasional lip service from software giants like Microsoft.In a market as competitive as enterprise content management, both big and small companies must consistently advance in order to meet the evolving needs of their customers and keep pace with the competition.It is refreshing to see that Microsoft is up to the task.