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Microsoft giving away expensive development software for free through WebsiteSpark program

Microsoft WebsiteSpark program is giving away thousands of dollar software for free

Microsoft WebsiteSpark program is giving away thousands of dollar software for free

Microsoft has done it in the past and they are doing it again. Just another program to woo developers and designers from around the world to start using their platform. When it comes to web programming PHP is by far the most used language on the face of World Wide Web, primarily because its free to develop in and secondly because its deployment is very cheap i.e all you need is a Linux box with free Apache server running on it.

Microsoft has launched the WebsiteSpark program after BizSpark program(to what they call a great success). The program offerings are mouth-watering and there is no doubt about it. Even a PHP savvy programmer like me would like to jump in and check out the business opportunities which can arise due to this exposure to Microsoft technologies.

The software they are giving for free are:

  • Visual Studio Professional (~$799 regular cost)
  • Expression Studio 2 or 3 (1 user) and Expression Web 2 or 3 (up to 2 users) (~$599 + $149 regular cost)
  • Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available) (~$469 regular cost)
  • SQL Server 2008 Web Edition (~$50 regular cost)

and you will have free access to MSDN which is around $500 a year value.

I have taken these prices from Microsoft website, the editions they give may vary but still its around $2566 value software and then the only thing they want is you to start developing websites which would run on their platforms (want to know how much a standard SQL server cost? just $5999). However, the check is that this program is valid for 3 years and you will have to go and renew yourself each year and on exit from the program you will have to pay only a nominal fee of $100. The other check is that they really don’t want you to get hold of their expensive products and sit around rather they want you to start developing and you will have to register your first MS based website with-in six months of registration.

Software is not the only thing Microsoft is giving away in WebsiteSpark program, there is some value addition to it as well. When you would have developed your website project you will get production support from Microsoft Hosting Partner which will include:

  • Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available) (~$469 regular cost)
  • SQL Server 2008 Web Edition (~$50 regular cost)

Deployments may be on 4 servers or VMs of 1processor each, on 2 servers or VMs of 2 processors each, or on 1 server or VM of 4-processors.

Then you will have access to the WebsiteSpark Marketplace, Partner Solution Profiler which is a Microsoft Partner Network and Web App Gallery, where you can showcase your project. You will have to choose a Network partner first while joining the program and only upon their approval, you will be able to join the program. The role of Network partner is to look after you, give support for finding new business opportunities, technical support and overall mentoring for your company.

To be eligible you should be a company with less than 10 employees and you should be a designer/developer working primarily in the field of Web. You can access more information and signup for WebsiteSpark program through this link.

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