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Microsoft Wants To Make BizSpark Fly

It's a tough time to be...well, anything in business right now, it seems. But it's a really tough time to be a startup business, what with credit markets still tight and so forth. But there's some hope for those companies trying to get a technology infrastructure up and running, and it's coming from Microsoft.

BizSpark is a program through which Microsoft is providing lots of technology and services with no up-front costs to companies that are fewer than three years old and earn less than $1 million per year in revenue. It's a shot over the bow of open source for Redmond, which has at times in the past had trouble convincing small companies that the total cost of ownership for Microsoft technology is less than that of open source.

Well, nothing's cheaper than free, and free is the initial price tag that BizSpark carries. Of course, the idea is to get small and emerging firms hooked on Microsoft by offering something free up-front -- not exactly a novel concept, but historically a pretty effective one in lots of different markets. The timing of it seems pretty good, too, and BizSpark will also include reasonable credit terms for when money does inevitably change hands.

Windows Azure is, or can be, prominently involved in the plan, and hosting partners will also have a role as providers of low-cost hosting to BizSpark customers. And if BizSpark does start a fire that burns open source, the entire Microsoft partner community could end up benefiting from the introduction of a new generation of small companies into the Microsoft fold. That could end up providing a little relief for everybody.

Are you participating in BizSpark? If so, how? Tell us at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 06, 2008 at 11:55 AM