Microsoft has taken the next step to broaden its promotion of Windows as platform for software-as-a-service providers by adding a new incubator program.
The Microsoft SaaS Incubation Center Program is an on-ramp to licensing of Windows for SaaS environments. It will provide ISVs with business and technical guidance, consulting services, and access to hosting channels.
More importantly, it will simplify licensing by enabling ISVs to buy discounted, subscription-based licenses through the hosting provider, rather than directly through Microsoft. In essence, that gives the software provider one throat to choke. The discount licensing, first announced last fall, includes a Windows Server license for up to 8 CPUs and a SQL Server license for up to 2 CPUs.
Hosting providers have already invested in the infrastructure, so it made sense to bring the two channels together: hosters and ISVs, said Michael van Dijken, lead marketing manager for hosting at Microsoft.
At this point, there are four hosting providers in the US and four more in Europe that are part of Microsoft’s program. The next step in the program will be to help hosting providers develop on-demand software marketplaces akin to what Salesforce has already done with App Exchange.
This program is completely different from Microsoft’s various Live programs for Windows, Office, and its Dynamics ERP applications, which are designed to promote Microsoft’s own software products. By contrast, SaaS On-Ramp concentrates on building up Windows as the platform for third parties who want to go the on demand route.
The SaaS On-Ramp program is currently scheduled to run as a promotion through next April.