Microsoft Gets Cozy with DotNetNuke, SugarCRM and WordPress | The

Microsoft is taking one of its greatest strengths — independent software vendor (ISV) relationships — and applying it to the Web. The software giant has launched the WebsiteSpark Program, which is designed to help business development for Web professionals with 10 employees or less. Microsoft also reinforced close working relationships with three major open source efforts — WordPress, SugarCRM and DotNetNuke. The VAR Guy is intrigued. Here’s why.

Certainly, the world of software has changed. Instead of writing Win32 applications, most up-and-coming programmers are writing server or Web applications — and increasingly those applications run in a cloud or SaaS model. So how does Microsoft maintain strong developer relations in this brave new world?

Efforts like Microsoft Windows Azure — a cloud platform for ISVs and end-customers — potentially help. And now, the WebsiteSpark Program could bring more developers into Microsoft’s camp. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the WebsiteSpark Program is:

“a new program designed to help business development for Web professionals. As the latest program in the ‘Spark’ family, including BizSpark and DreamSpark, the WebsiteSpark Program provides eligible Web professionals with design and development software licenses, server production licenses and free training and support, with no up-front costs. In addition, the program will offer Web professionals access to a broad marketplace that enables them to connect with prospective customers and promote their offerings in Microsoft marketing vehicles, on a portal available later this fall.”

Here are more specifics about WebsiteSpark.

But Wait, There’s More

Microsoft also launched the Web Platform Installed 2.0 and the Windows Web Application Gallery 2.0. According to the company:

“This new release provides developers with a simplified installation of Microsoft products and technologies that reduces download complexity, and includes new additions such as IIS Media Pack, Windows Azure SDK, and more. Coupled with the App Gallery, developers can also access dozens of free, open-code and ready-to-install applications to help build their Web sites. Today more than 20 apps are available from both Microsoft and the broader community, including WordPress, SugarCRM and DotNetNuke.”

Those three software mentions — WordPress, SugarCRM and DotNetNuke — caught The VAR Guy’s ear. All three are open source in nature, reinforcing the fact that Microsoft wants Windows Server and Windows Azure to be the preferred platforms for building and running open source applications. That’s quite a lofty goal…