Microsoft Website Spark

Microsoft has recently launched a few initiatives such as their BizSpark and DreamSpark promotions that are aimed at providing startups and college students respectively access to software licensing and support at little or no cost. The idea being to promote Microsoft products and instill loyalty in the brand. A number of clients have joined the BizSpark program and based on what they have told me, the initiative has been a great success.

On the heels of that success, Microsoft has launched a new initiative, WebsiteSpark. This time they have taken aim at web professionals. The requirements necessary to join the WebsiteSpark program is that your business needs to primarily provide website design and development services and have ten or fewer employees. If your company qualifies you get access to such benefits as:
* Free online training programs
* Microsoft's network of managed newsgroups
* Microsoft web development software such as:
- VisualStudio 2008
- Expression Studio 2
- Expression Web 2
- Windows Web Server 2008
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
* Listing in the WebsiteSpark Partner Catalog

While rather new, the WebsiteSpark program has had over 5000 small business join and Microsoft is expecting up to 15,000 more. Overall WebsiteSpark seems like a great opportunity for small web design professionals looking for dedicated or managed hosting solutions and is definitely worth checking out if expanding your Windows development capabilities will grow your business.