Microsoft is all set to offer some $60,000 worth of free cloud services to a select group of small-time software businesses. The BizSpark Plus initiative will be offering the free service in order to hasten the early stage startups’ success. According to Clifford de With, Microsoft South Africa platform lead and developer, the said initiative hopes to build a vibrant community for local software development.
Microsoft South Africa hopes to provide the small software developers an opportunity to create local software and at the same offer business aid in marketing the software. The company hopes to make South Africa an exported of intellectual property.
An extension of the BizSpark Program, BizSpark Plus offers high potential startups with services and products not only from Microsoft but from other BizSpark Partners as well. The offer, however, is by invitation only. The Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering, SmartXchange, and Bandwidth Barn are some of the initial partners of BizSpark Plus. Initially, the Windows Azure Platform will be the focus so that cloud computing costs for startups can be covered. Windows Azure is a reliable and simple cloud computing platform for web services and applications, as well as hosting applications. It will be launched in South Africa by mid-2012.
The initiative will also offer generous access for these startups to Microsoft Technology, which will eventually help these startup firms to grow. Because of cloud computing, the small startups can spend their money and time on some other things required to grow the business. They can find new customers, promote their business, invest in marketing, hire more developers, learn from users, and solve their own challenges.