Microsoft Jump-Starts Global Entrepreneurs With BizSpark

SAN FRANCISCO — Nov. 5, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled Microsoft BizSpark (http://www.microsoftstartupzone.com/bizspark), a global program designed to help accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and early-stage startups. BizSpark provides startups and entrepreneurs with fast and easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools and production licenses of server products with no upfront costs and minimal requirements. BizSpark also provides technical support and market visibility. BizSpark is structured to take advantage of the resources and support of a global network of hundreds of organizations such as economic development agencies, university incubators, hosters and investors, including The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). These BizSpark Network Partners provide guidance, mentorship and resources to help drive startup success.

“Entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving innovation and creating the kinds of new jobs that are essential to sustainable economic growth,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “Microsoft BizSpark is an exciting way for us to help provide business startups with the development tools, advice and exposure they need. We look forward to working with organizations and development agencies around the globe to foster entrepreneurship and help new companies succeed.”

Building Startup Success Through Software Access, Market Support and Global Visibility

As part of BizSpark, Microsoft is providing startups with a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Professional subscription, which makes available for download a broad set of development tools needed to build, test and maintain an application on the Microsoft platform, including Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft .NET Framework. Through MSDN, BizSpark also provides professional support services and expert information resources. For startups building hosted software, BizSpark includes production licenses for application hosting and management servers including Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server, BizTalk Server and Systems Center, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to be added soon. The program also will provide a worldwide network of hosting partners, offering discounted hosting services to startups that would like to take their business or product online using their BizSpark licenses. Finally, startups will have the opportunity to be profiled and promoted on the BizSparkDB, an online startup directory, where Microsoft will promote promising startups from around the world every day.

In addition to the core BizSpark offering, BizSpark startups will be eligible for other Microsoft offerings, such as Microsoft cloud services technologies, including the following:

  • Access to the community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform, a new computing platform that will help developers build the next generation of applications that will span from the cloud to the enterprise datacenter and deliver compelling new experiences across the PC, Web and phone. The Azure Services Platform was announced last month at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC2008).

  • Access to the community technical preview (CTP) of the Live Framework, a simple, open and interoperable framework for developers to access and consume Live Services. Live Services is a set of building blocks within the Azure Services Platform for handling user data and application resources, which includes Live Mesh technologies for synchronizing users’ data and extending Web applications across multiple devices.

Microsoft will also ensure that BizSpark members are notified of all programs of particular interest to startups, such as the Microsoft Web Platform Installer and Microsoft Web Application Installer. These offerings, make it easier for developers to bring compelling PHP and .NET Web applications to market faster with a streamlined download, install and configure experience, as well as design and development integration and pre-packaged open source applications that run well on the Microsoft Web Platform.

“Through our work with thousands of startups over the years, we understand that making strategic technology decisions early on is a key challenge — one that sets up entrepreneurs and startups for future growth and the ability to meet market demands,” said Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president of Strategic and Emerging Business Development at Microsoft. “BizSpark simplifies this choice by giving startups an industry-leading platform with no immediate cost and the support needed to achieve business success.”

“We think Microsoft BizSpark addresses a fundamental challenge startups face: access to current, full-featured tools and technologies that help turn ideas into a thriving business,” said Suren G. Dutia, CEO of TiE Global. “We will work closely with Microsoft to help startups bring their innovative solutions to market more quickly and effectively by providing educational programs, business mentoring and peer networking. We are excited to be part of this new effort to propagate entrepreneurship globally, cultivating the future generation of highly successful entrepreneurs.”

BizSpark Availability

BizSpark is available worldwide to privately held startups building a software-based product or service that have been in business less than three years and have less than $1 million (U.S.) in revenue. BizSpark provides startups with software, support and visibility early in their life cycle when those resources are most needed and least affordable. As a demonstration of Microsoft’s commitment to startup success, a program fee of $100 (U.S.) is payable on exit from the program rather than upfront when joining. More information about BizSpark and other startup resources is available at the Microsoft Startup Zone at http://www.microsoftstartupzone.com.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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