As an software engineer and founder/CTO of a technology start-up (WizioTec Corp.), I got quite interested to explore Microsoft’s BizSpark program. This is a special program offered for a start-up. After reviews the plan, I was not convinced to give their tools & software a serious consideration. I feel Microsoft seem to have not found a way out of their traditional software distribution model. This approach works for a vendor that is dominant and controlling the market, eventually forcing the purchase decision. Apple is an example of such companies.
Following are some of the reasons why I think BizSpark does not work for a typical start-up, while considering other free and open source options.
- Free development tools will not just cut it, who will build the software. Today the labor is lot more expensive compared to the cost of tools.
- There are not many high caliber engineers available in the market to develop the software utilizing Microsoft tools, especially to build a complex and innovative solution. Even if you find such talent, most start-ups can’t afford to hire them.
- Offshore development based on Microsoft tools will be quite expensive and risky. Also I am thinking the terms of BizSpark program does not support any kinds of outsourcing to offshore engineers. Most importantly it will be a nightmare to find qualified offshore Microsoft developers.
- Majority of start-ups engineering workforce consist of fresh graduates and engineers with few years of experience. In this talent segment, top level of expertise around Microsoft tools is rare to find, when compared with other open source tools and software.
- I don’t really understand the reasons for Microsoft allowing only start-ups with less than 3 yrs old. This criteria will block out serious start-ups. They are generally the ones who may be willing to evaluate new Microsoft tools.
- The infrastructure to support Microsoft runtime is lot more expensive and require high level of expertise to configure and manage servers. Cloud service providers for Microsoft platform are still immature and these services may be costly, especially considering an open source stack such as LAMP.