In the era of Apple fanboys and opinionated Ruby on Rails developers, it might not be cool to use Microsoft tools and products. It seems that startup will tend to use Ruby over .NET, Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office, OS X or Ubuntu in lieu of Windows. I’ve never been dogmatic about the technology I use. I’m a pragmatic programmer and the fact of the matter is that a large number of computer users still rely on Microsoft products. In the financial industry, Excel spreadsheets are traded like baseball cards. Microsoft realizes that they are not the cool kids in the block, at least amongst Silicon Valley startups, and perhaps that is why the started the Microsoft BizSpark program.
I’ve been one to always chase my customers and users, not trends and fads. That is why, I’ve been a huge fan of Microsoft DreamSpark and Microsoft BizSpark. Microsoft BizSpark is a program that allows small startups have access to many of its products, frameworks, tools, and resources for free.
Through BizSpark you can get access to applications such as Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, Office for Mac 2011, Microsoft Windows 3.1 through Windows Vista, and much more for free. There is no need for your CTO to look for serial numbers for Windows Server 2008 on Google and warez sites. BizSpark gives you legit licenses to key Microsoft products.
I’m a huge fan of any company that supports startups and software developers in general. I can’t say enough nice things about Microsoft BizSpark, even if they paid me. And not, they didn’t pay me but I am a proud member. I only wish that the Microsoft BizSpark program also included hardware.