The “Spark” series of programs are initiatives that deliver free Microsoft software and support to individuals and organizations. The program lineup currently includes DreamSpark, which offers tons of free software tools for students, and BizSpark, which gives startups the tools and support they need to get off the ground. Now comes a third entry, “WebsiteSpark.”
As you may imagine, this new program provides web developers and designers with copies of Microsoft web design and development software. The list includes Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, Expression Studio 3, Expression Web 3 as well as processor licenses for Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available), SQL Server 2008 and DotNetPanel, a third-party web site control panel.
To qualify, web development and design companies with up to 10 employees and owners can participate for three years with no up-front cost on their part. At the end of the term, only a $100 fee is due, but there are no other costs or obligations. So in other words, you’re getting a ton of software for only $100.
That on its own would be great, but the program also provides professional support and training during the three year period. Of course the end goal here is to sell potential customers on the Microsoft platform, but as TechCrunch recently noted: “Who cares” because “frankly, their developer tools have long been the best available.”
Those interested in learning more or enrolling can do so here: http://www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark.