Microsoft announced a new initiative earlier today, which aims to give free software to small companies who are in the business of web development and design. According to TechFlash, the program is called WebsiteSpark, and it adds to the BizSpark and DreamSpark programs that Microsoft is already running.
The Redmond-based software company is hoping to get between 15,000 to 25,000 companies signed up in the first year alone, according to Mitra Azizira the Microsoft general manager for developer platform evangelism. This isn't an unrealistic goal, as the offer of free professional software is an enticing offer to anyone, especially businesses just starting up. To add to the offer, obtaining software through WebsiteSpark will mean the companies can avoid Microsoft's complex licensing deals which will save the time and the hassle.
So, what's in this for Microsoft, aside from getting more of their software out there? The company hopes that by getting the start-ups using their software early that they'll stick with it as they grow, which is pretty likely; having to shift to an entire new set of software is a tedious and costly process. The only catch that comes with WebsiteSpark is that companies will have to have 10 or fewer employees to be eligible for it, and those participating will be able to be involved for up to three years. Additionally, the business will have to pay $100 when they exit the program.
If you're keen to check out WebsiteSpark, promptly head over to the official website and have a look. It's also worth noting that a range of partners with Microsoft will offer discounted services through WebsiteSpark, which apparently includes hosting companies.