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Microsoft Helps Jumpstart NZ Entrepreneurs

PRESS RELEASE


Microsoft Helps Jumpstart New Zealand Entrepreneurs With Bizspark

No upfront costs for program providing easy access to software development tools and technologies

Auckland, New Zealand, November 6, 2008 – Microsoft today unveiled Microsoft BizSpark, a global program designed to help accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and early stage startups. With BizSpark, Microsoft provides entrepreneurs fast and easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools and production licenses of server products with no upfront costs and minimal requirements. BizSpark will also provide technical support and market visibility. BizSpark is supported by a network of hundreds of organisations such as economic development agencies, university incubators, hosters and investors. In New Zealand, entrepreneurial organisations including Incubators NZ, New Zealand Software Association, Angel Association New Zealand and Mindscape will provide guidance, mentorship and resources to help drive startup success.

“Entrepreneurs are vital to the growth of an economy and during times of economic stress, it’s even more important that startups have the technology and market resource support they need to succeed,” said Kevin Ackhurst, Microsoft New Zealand managing director. “New Zealand’s software industry in particular has been identified as a high-growth sector with the potential to more than double its contribution to the economy. Microsoft BizSpark will provide startups with the development tools, advice and exposure they need.”

“Technology has the potential to transform the New Zealand economy, by allowing New Zealand-based firms to generate value through knowledge-based activities, either by controlling a global presence from New Zealand or by exporting high-value creative services electronically to global markets,” said Dr. David Skilling, CEO of the New Zealand Institute think tank. “By providing easy, low-cost access to technology tools, BizSpark has the potential to put many young New Zealand companies on the road to global success.”

Building Startup Success Through Software Access, Market Support and Global Visibility

As part of BizSpark, Microsoft is providing startups with a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Premium subscription. MSDN makes available for download a broad set of design and development tools needed to build, test and maintain an application on the Microsoft platform, as well as professional support services and expert information resources. For startups building hosted software, BizSpark includes production licenses for the application and management servers including Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Biztalk Server and Systems Center, with Dynamics CRM to be added soon. The program will also provide a worldwide network of hosting partners, offering discounted hosting services to startups to take their business or product online using BizSpark licenses. Finally, startups will have the opportunity to be profiled and promoted on the BizsparkDB, an online startup directory, where Microsoft will promote promising startups from around the world every day.

In addition to the core BizSpark offering, startups are uniquely positioned to benefit from broadly available offerings, such as:

• The Microsoft Web Platform Installer and Web Application Installer, which make it easier for developers to bring compelling PHP and .NET Web applications to market faster with streamlined design and development integration and PHP coding assistance.

• Microsoft cloud services technologies, including:

o Enhanced access to Live Platform Services, a collection of developer interfaces that provide access to Live Services such as Live ID, and Live Mesh, storage, and the underlying platform (including virtualized execution, and access to data) that underpins them.
o
o Limited access, based on eligibility requirements, to the Community Technical Preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform, a new computing platform that will help developers build the next generation of applications that will span from the cloud to the enterprise datacenter and deliver compelling new experiences across the PC, Web and phone. The Azure Services Platform was announced last month at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC2008).
o
“BizSpark will simplify important technology decisions for start-ups in the early stages of growth by giving them an industry-leading platform with no immediate cost,” said Jonathan Kirkpatrick, chair of Incubators NZ.

"These types of programs cultivate an environment in which New Zealand Information and Communication Technology companies can use more of their resources to understand their customer needs and market demands, helping them become world-class businesses,” said Hans Frauenlob sector director of ICT for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. “Increasing ICT uptake also has the potential to lift productivity throughout the economy.”

BizSpark Availability

BizSpark is available to privately held companies and individuals building a software-based product or service who have been in business less than three years and have less than USD$1 million in revenue. BizSpark is intended to provide startups with software, support and visibility at a time when they are most valuable and least affordable. As such, a small fee of USD$100 is payable only at successful completion of the three-year program. BizSpark is immediately available. To learn more about BizSpark and other startup resources,visit the Microsoft Startup Zone at www.microsoftstartupzone.com.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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