Microsoft's BizSpark Giving Web Start-Ups Three Years Free

Dennis Faas's picture

In an attempt to compete with Google and Zoho, Microsoft is reportedly giving away free software to early-state Web start-up companies as part of a recently launched worldwide program called BizSpark.

BizSpark wants to help startups by providing production licenses and technical support for several Microsoft products. The licenses are free for the first three years.

BizSpark gives Microsoft a way to promote the use of its software. ZocDoc, a New York-based company that offers an online service for booking doctor and dentist appoints, became an early member of the BizSpark program. ZocDoc received licenses for Microsoft's Visual Studio, SQL Server and Windows Server products.  (Source:

Office SharePoint Portal Server, BizTalk Server and Systems Center, with Dynamics CRM to be added soon are also covered in the BizSpark program. Startups will also receive a subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network and a Community Technology Preview of Microsoft's Azure cloud software.

Unlike express editions of some free software previously offered by Microsoft for startups, the software licenses for the BizSpark program are for full products with no usage restrictions.

In order to qualify for the free three-year program, companies have to be privately held, less than three years old, have annual revenue of less than $1 million, and actively developing an online service or hosted application. They also need to be nominated by one of the partners Microsoft is signing up for the program, which include investment companies, university incubators and economic development agencies.

Partners will be listed at the BizSpark web site and startups can approach the groups and ask to be nominated. Application hosting companies that partner with Microsoft can also nominate startups as well as offering them discount services.

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