Microsoft is giving away free software to early-stage web start-up companies--including university-based projects--as part of a worldwide program called BizSpark, PC World reports. Launched Nov. 5, BizSpark aims to help startups get off the ground by providing production licenses and technical support for several Microsoft products. The licenses are free for the first three years, after which the startups must begin to pay. As well as helping startups, the program gives Microsoft a way to promote the use of its software at a time when open-source alternatives have matured, and as rivals such as Google are promoting their cloud platforms...

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