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Microsoft woos startups with new BizSpark program

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Redmond is giving a select bunch of software startups thousands of dollars worth of development tools and server software at a big discount for up to three years.

Companies signing up to the deal won’t have to stump up a fee at the beginning of the agreement. However, they will be required to pay out $100 when they leave the program that Microsoft has dubbed BizSpark.

Fresh-faced firms building software-based products or services with less than $1m in their annual revenue piggy bank and that have been around no longer than three years can take part in the global program, MS said.

“Entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving innovation and creating the kinds of new jobs that are essential to sustainable economic growth,” said Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, who no doubt has also been thinking about ways to lock-in small firms to the software giant’s platform.

“Microsoft BizSpark is an exciting way for us to help provide business startups with the development tools, advice and exposure they need,” he said.

Redmond will give startups participating in the program a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MDSN) professional subscription where they can lay their hands on dev MS platform tools.

Hosted software startups will additionally qualify for full production access to Microsoft server products.

Big Silicon Valley players have, in recent months, been muscling in on what was once comfortable territory for Microsoft. That's a reality check for Ballmer and co which has forced them to offer tasty deals to startups that might just be eying up the competition a little too much these days. ®

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