Microsoft WebsiteSpark program: free Web development tools

Microsoft just launched WebsiteSpark, a third program designed to foster development and design, in this case for the web, for three years with no up-front cost if you can meet their requirements. As I mentioned, this is the third “Spark” program out of Redmond. The first two are quite appealing in their own right and I have mentioned them before:

  1. BizSpark helps early-stage startups succeed, by providing Microsoft software, support, and visibility at no cost
  2. DreamSpark gives students professional-level developer and designer tools as well as training available at no charge.

There are, as always, catches. In this case their are two:

  1. The company interested in WebsiteSpark must have fewer than 10 employees and owners that build websites and Web applications on behalf of others.
  2. There is a $100 program offering fee, payable on exit.

If you can meet those two requirements, you’ll get access to the following:

  • Microsoft Web design and development tools, including three licenses of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licenses of Microsoft Expression Web 3, and one license of Microsoft Expression Studio 3
  • Four processor licenses for production usage to Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available) and four processor licenses for production usage to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
  • A third-party premium Web site control panel (DotNetPanel)
  • Two technical support incidents per company
  • Access to community support through connections with Network Partners, Hosting Partners and peers with complementary services and technologies
  • Unlimited access to technical managed newsgroups on MSDN
  • Unlimited program support for nontechnical issues
  • Your company’s offerings featured in a WebsiteSpark marketplace (coming this fall), supported by Microsoft marketing vehicles