The web has dramatically changed the software industry over the past 15 years. Today it’s hard to imagine business without the web. Nearly all businesses have or are creating a presence on the web to promote or sell their products and services, find new customers, or support existing ones. At the same time, the web has spawned a massive new ecosystem of web professionals – developers and designers who are focused on helping these businesses thrive.
Many businesses, particularly small businesses, face the challenge of how to start building their web projects. That’s why I’m excited to announce the availability of the WebsiteSpark Program, a new program designed to help jumpstart web development and design for companies of up to ten members. As the latest offering in the ‘Spark’ family, including BizSpark and DreamSpark, WebsiteSpark builds on the legacy of these successful programs to provide software, support, and opportunities for web professionals everywhere.
Although Microsoft has always encouraged small companies to use our technologies, we’ve found that there was market gap in the area supporting small web consulting and hosting companies. About 5 months ago we conducted a survey of over 200 web professionals on both Linux and Windows platforms, and this gap was glaring; although many companies offer similar programs with “free software” or “free/community support,” we discovered that what these companies really wanted – and needed – was the ability and network to help drive business to their companies. Given our commitment to web developers who work in all types of organizations, we added WebsiteSpark to our portfolio to help these companies be more successful.
With WebsiteSpark, eligible companies can receive design and development software licenses and processor licenses with no up-front costs. In addition, they will receive support and training, as well as access to a broad marketplace that enables them to connect with prospective customers worldwide and feature their offerings in Microsoft marketing vehicles. The marketplace portal will be available later this fall.
In a nutshell, the WebsiteSpark Program makes it easier for companies to access and build on the Microsoft Web Platform, which offers web developers and designers around the world a robust environment for innovating on the web.
This release of Web Platform Installer simplifies installation and includes new additions such as IIS Media Services and the Windows Azure SDK. Coupled with the App Gallery, developers can also access dozens of free, open source, and ready-to-install applications to help build their websites. Today more than 20 new apps are available from both Microsoft and the community, including new additions Moodle and Sugar CRM alongside other popular web applications such as WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuke and many more.
For more information about the WebsiteSpark Program, including who is eligible, visit www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark.
You can download Web Platform Installer 2.0 and Windows Web App Gallery at http://www.microsoft.com/web.