Starting a company is a lot of work… and expensive! Usually you gave up a steady income to go an do your own thing, and the expenses and costs can creep up very quickly.
For developers on Microsoft’s technologies, and in general for most start-up, it was always been hard to come up with the money for the MSDN Subscription that can be up to 6K a year. Company with competitive technologies which are open source, this is a major disadvantage for MS.
On top of this, if you developed your site on microsoft’s technologies, shared hosting was always much more expensive for licensing issues.
Well, it seems that MS has noticed they are loosing too many start ups and are doing something about it…
The first step Microsoft took (a few years ago) to resolve this was to make deals with hosting companies so the hosting plans could be competitive and comparable with each other. Lunar pages for example offers Windows Hosting from 9.95 a month, including one instance of SQL Server.
Now it seems MS wants to make sure start-ups can seriously consider Microsoft’s technologies from the begging. MS BizSpark allows companies less than 3 years old and with less than 1million in revenue to get all MS Development tools pretty much for free for three years (you have to pay US$100 at the end of the period)!
You will need to have a company web site and an an email address from your company domain (I don’t think you can put gmail/yahoo/etc).
I just signed up today… It seems that I get all Visual Studio, SQL Server, and even operating systems! It also seem you get good discounts for dedicated servers in a variety of providers, such as Server Beach.
This is a great move! Without having to worry about the price tag, you can now objectively consider the technology options…And for people like me, that mostly have experience in MS technologies, it means that I don’t have to worry about coming up with funding for the development tools up front.
Now, if they could only make it free for ever… 🙂