May 24

Microsoft offers a generous program to help new independent software vendors (ISVs) develop and launch their products faster and cheaper. 

The Microsoft “Empower for ISVs” program offers software, support, and additional resources designed to help ISVs reduce development costs, test their software on multiple Windows platforms, and improve time-to-market.  Empower is a one-year membership for $375, with an opportunity to renew for a second year, and it’s available only once per company.

I’ve heard some developers describe Empower as a “legal way to steal Microsoft software.”  We are in the second year of the Empower program at Mini-Tools, and I can vouch this program is indeed a steal for new ISVs.  We have saved over $3,000 in software and support costs with Empower.  I’ve also heard rumors that Microsoft may extend Empower to a third year, and we sincerely hope this is true.

Empower Benefits

Empower provides licenses for most Microsoft software and includes enhanced support:

  • Up to five (5) internal-use software licenses:
    • Windows Vista, or Windows XP Professional
    • 2007 Microsoft Office system or Microsoft Office 2003
  • One (1) software license and up to five (5) Client Access Licenses (CALs) for:
    • Windows Server 2003 (Standard or Enterprise Edition)
    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 (Standard or Enterprise Edition)
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (Standard or Enterprise Edition)
    • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or 2003
  • Development and Testing Licenses:
    • One (1) MSDN Premium Subscription Media Kit and five (5) user licenses (does not include phone-based incident support)
    • Full range of Microsoft servers integrated server-software, all Microsoft operating systems, Microsoft productivity products (Microsoft Office Developer, Microsoft Project, FrontPage, Visio, and MapPoint), and access to SDKs, DDKs, and the MSDN Library
    • Five (5) licenses for Visual Studio 2005 Professional, for up to five (5) users, concurrent with development and testing licenses provided with the MSDN Premium Subscription
    • Priority access to new product releases, updates, and betas through the MSDN Downloads site
  • MSDN online managed support newsgroups (English only)
    • Forums for your software, hardware, and related technology questions supported by Microsoft support professionals
  • ISV Advisory Service (10 Hours)
    • This new phone-based consultation service helps you develop products using Microsoft technologies. Select from a broad range of services, including ad hoc development advice and best-practice recommendations.

Empower Requirements

Becoming an Empower member is fairly easy and painless:

  • Pay the annual membership fee of US$375. (Note: Fee varies by country.)
  • Be a Registered Member of the Microsoft Partner Program.
  • Submit the URL of your company’s official website at the time of enrollment, using the online enrollment tool. You must maintain the contact information on the official corporate website during your membership.
  • Commit to developing one (1) packaged and resalable software product that supports at least one of the following Microsoft technologies:
    • Microsoft Windows Vista
    • Microsoft Office 2007
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2005
    • Microsoft Mobility platform (Microsoft Windows Mobile software for Pocket PCs, Microsoft Windows Mobile software for mobile devices)
    • Microsoft Dynamics (formerly Microsoft Business Solutions)
  • Execute the Initiative Agreement located in the online enrollment tool.
  • Provide profile information on planned software product development.

Empower Re-Enrollment

After the first year of your Empower membership expires, no doubt you will want to sign up for a second year to continue the great benefits and savings.  To receive a second year of Empower:

  • Continue to meet all the requirements of the first-year membership, listed above.
  • Within 18 months of initial membership activation (within 6 months of re-enrollment), publicly announce the new packaged software product on your official website.
  • Within 24 months of initial membership activation (within 12 months of re-enrollment), release the new packaged software product.
  • Pay the standard annual membership fee of US$375. (Note: Fee varies by country.)
  • Membership is limited to two years, so you may re-enroll only once.

Enroll in Empower for ISVs.  Or check out the Empower FAQ.

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Article published on May 24, 2007

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3 Responses to “Microsoft Empowers Small ISVs”

  1. Sean O Says:

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  2. Windows Vista Upgrade : Software Org Says:

    […] week) and $325 to upgrade to Vista (not including the cost of Vista itself, which was free with my Microsoft Empower subscription).  Note that I have a complex system with lots of software and hardware, which is typical for a […]

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