Why is WebsiteSpark relevant?

Scott Guthrie of Microsoft launched a new program yesterday. Joining BizSpark for new software companies and DreamSpark for students, the new WebsiteSpark is intended to power up small web development companies.

In a nutshell, this is WebsiteSpark:

If you’re a small company (< 10 employees) building web sites, you get a bunch of licenses, training and support for free. The licenses include three Visual Studio Professionals, three Expression tools and four processor licenses for Windows Web Server and SQL Server. So, up to three programmers, three designers and quite a few sites, you’re well set.

Also, if you want to host yourself, you can also use the server licenses in production. All the software comes with full upgrade rights for the three years the program is running, and after that, you can pay $999/year to keep using the software.

Go check it out!

What does this mean?

If you’re an individual web professional or work in a small company, you’ll get a kickstart. If you’ve previously only looked at the LAMP stack for cost reasons, you now have an alternative. Microsoft technology is no longer that costly – you do need workstation OSs and possibly Office, but they’re reasonably cheap to obtain through an Action Pack Subscription.

If you’re an ISV catering for the web development market (Telerik et al.), your customer potential just saw significant growth. With Microsoft’s monetary share of the first few web projects diminishing, any productivity boost you may be able to offer may be able to turn the heads. The Microsoft stack is relatively easy to learn, but it doesn’t mean newcomers wouldn’t appreciate help.

If you’re a corporation looking for agile partnerships in the web field (CMS ISVs, ad agencies, ERP providers etc.), you now have lots of potential new entrepreneurs around you. Smaller shops previously dedicated to open source technologies may be more willing to convert or at least extend their service base.

And, if you’re Microsoft, you just created lots of buzz around your platform. You also improved your standing in the small development shop sector that was showing signs of slippage. And that’s not a bad thing – really, Microsoft platform has nothing to be ashamed of, and this kind of commercial incentives are exactly what is needed to keep the platform from turning into a dusty enterprise toolbox.

The problems with ASP.NET small-site hosting costs still exist (see my blog post from July 2005 – some things change slowly), but WebsiteSpark is definitely an improvement for small businesses. Not bad!

September 25, 2009 · Jouni Heikniemi · 2 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: .NET, Web

2 Responses

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