The title seems a bit unreal, but it is totally true and legit. Please read on.
Last year, I attended the International Startup Festival in Montreal. I met the Canadian Microsoft team who promote the Microsoft program BizSpark. You can get a quick summary of BizSpark at Woot Studio.
As a Windows Phone or Windows 8 developer you will be interested in:
- 1-year of a Windows Phone Store developer account.
- 1-year of a Windows Store developer account.
- MSDN Ultimate which includes Visual Studio Ultimate, Windows 8, and Office.
- $150 per month of Windows Azure.
Before I met the Microsoft evangelists, I thought that BizSpark was only for registered/incorporated businesses. I was wrong.
The requirements to be eligible for BizSpark are:
- You are making less than one million in revenue per year. If this is not the case, you don’t need BizSpark!
- Your startup or business has less than 10 employees.
- Your business should be less than 5 years old.
The last requirement is that you need to develop software. Be careful; you need to develop your own software. In other words, you need to sell a product. A company that develops software for clients is not eligible for BizSpark.
What if you already have Windows Phone apps or Windows Store apps published? You are probably entitled to get BizSpark.
The last requirement is that you need a professional-ish website with a non-personal email. The best example of a professional-ish website is the website that you are reading! If you don’t have a website, I encourage you to create one. It is a bit of work, but it is highly worth it. I can’t guarantee that you’ll be 100% eligible to get BizSpark following my steps, but it has worked for two of my friends and me. It takes less than two days to find out if you are eligible.
Microsoft does not seem to check if you have a registered business.
This week, I’m “celebrating” my first year of BizSpark. This great program lasts for three years. When the program ends, you keep all the software that you have installed.
Thanks to the fact that Windows Azure is free with BizSpark, I could try Azure without worrying about the cost. In one month, I learned how easy it was to play with Azure Mobile Services, Azure SQL, Blob Storage, Virtual Machines and Azure Mobile Services. I hadn’t played with backend before and I was able to release my Windows Phone application App Spotlights that uses all the above-mentioned technology.
If you are an Indie developer selling software, try subscribing to BizSpark.