Introduced in October 2009, Microsoft’s WebsiteSpark is a program designed to help Web professionals and startups gain access to design and development tools and licenses as well as training and support. From Microsoft’s perspective, of course, they gain access to realms that normally only Linux has enjoyed: the bootstrapping startups and webrepreneurs.
With the advent of other software tools that are also targeting the strengths of Linux, like Windows Server 2008 R2, the Seattle Giant is definitely moving towards gaining back their lost market shares. The good news is that by doing so, they’re opening up a huge door for small businesses and startups who otherwise would have had to either not use Microsoft’s software or would have had to spend precious resources (large sums of cash) to buy them.
Through its trifecta of startup and entrepreneurial tools (BizSpark, DreamSpark, and now WebsiteSpark), MS is definitely jumping whole hog into the next generation of IT businesses.
WebsiteSpark is aimed at website developers, app builders, and hosting providers. The program is in three parts: software deployment (Windows Web Server and SQL Server), training and support (from Microsoft experts/engineers), and marketing exposure (through MS Partners).
Any small company or startup with 10 or fewer employees and that specializes in website development or app building (or related) can qualify. The program costs $100 for three years, at which time your company can either license the products wholly or choose a scaled down version. Best of all, the $100 isn’t due until the end of the three years.
A ton of hosting providers (over 200 now in 30 countries) and tens of thousands of startups worldwide have jumped on board so far.
My friend Aronado Placencia hosted interviews on WebsiteSpark at South by Southwest (SXSW) this year. Here is one of them: