How do you ensure that your product stays relevant in the future? Reach out to the next generation of innovators. Several large companies are doing just that — as they attempt to encourage software start-ups to use their products and services.
How do you ensure that your product stays relevant in the future? Reach out to the next generation of innovators. In what sounds like a smart marketing tactic, several large companies are seeking to encourage software start-ups to use their products and services -- through initiatives that range from free software development tools to a contest.
Microsoft in November launched a program called BizSpark that offers eligible software start-ups around the globe free access to various Microsoft products -- as long as the start-ups are privately held, less than three years old, have annual revenue of less than $1 million and are referred by partners such as venture capitalists. (The start-ups do pay a $100 fee when they leave the program.) Meanwhile, Sun Microsystems has a program for start-ups called Sun Startup Essentials that includes discounted servers and open source software. And Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced this year's winner of a contest it sponsors for start-ups that use its cloud computing platform.
Microsoft is also reaching out to those who may become future innovators: High-school and college students in a number of countries can participate in its DreamSpark program to download a number of Microsoft software development tools for free.