Microsoft has just launched a new startup initiative called BizSpark
- MS Visual Studio Pro
- SQL Server
- Windows Vista, XP, Server etc.
- Office & Project
- And premium MSDN subscriptions for all
These are not only development licenses but production/hosting licenses as well so this is a good deal. To qualify you have to be a private company in software with less than $1 million in revenue. The program is free but there is a $100 charge when you leave the program. Also, after 3 years you’ll have to revert to a normal paying customer (but then again, you’ll be making more than $1 million already, right?).
You also have to be sponsored by a partner but you can do so through Flow (just shoot us an email).
You don’t have to be building your application on .NET so I’m pretty sure there’s something for almost everyone, even people building Web 2.0 apps on LAMP. I know one of the people behind Microsoft’s emerging business group, Yi-Jian Ngo. He has a great blog
This is a new program so we’ll have to check back when people sign up and can provide feedback. But I’d say getting free software is a great way to build lean startups.