I know that there is a perception among some in the hosting industry that Microsoft is a strong partner to few and competitor to many. It wasn't that long ago that I had a similar impression when I was at HostMysite.com, now Hosting.com. After joining Microsoft, John Zanni, general manager for Microsoft's hosting business, gave me some of the best advice anyone's given me here, "Don't forget where you came from." He explained that after a while of being at Microsoft, the new hoster smell wears off and it can be hard to stay connected. I try to remember that bit of advice every day.
Today, I can proudly say that Microsoft is a showing its commitment to being a strong partner to the hosting industry. With the announcement of WebsiteSpark, a new program for hosting providers and Web professionals, Microsoft is giving hosting providers the ability to offer free Microsoft software to small development and design shops with less than 10 employees. You can get all the details of the program at http://www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark/.With WebsiteSpark, hosting providers have no up-front costs other than marketing and take no risks (i.e. no quota commitments). Some have asked why Microsoft is launching such a program. Being a part of the WebsiteSpark project team, I can say with confidence that Microsoft believes in the future of hosting providers, Web developers, and designers and we are willing to forgive short-term losses for long-term relationships. We believe in it so much that we hire people from the industry to be advocates from within the company. We believe in it so much that we are investing in the future now.