Microsoft on Tuesday extended its relationship with Hewlett-Packard's new business accelerator, making a number of its servers available to start-ups for testing free of charge.
The HP Garage Program helps new Internet businesses launch by supplying technology, financing, marketing and support services in exchange for an equity stake. Companies that take part in the program also must deploy their businesses using HP's products and services.
Microsoft said it will allow HP Garage Program companies to test their electronic-commerce applications on a number of its servers, including the Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Visual Studio development system and Microsoft's .NET Enterprise Servers. Companies will have access to the technology for six months at no cost with the option of purchasing the products.
More than 50 percent of the companies starting up through the HP Garage Program already build their Internet businesses on Windows-based HP NetServers, according to HP. Companies also already have access to a free license of Microsoft Visual Studio 6 Enterprise Edition.
In addition to Microsoft products, HP's 1-year-old Garage Program offers technology for testing on Linux and HP-UX platforms.
Also Tuesday, the two companies announced a sweepstakes to market the new-business incubator program, offering a prize of more than US$430,000 worth of hardware and software needed to launch a start-up. The winner of the sweepstakes will receive an HP NetServer, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition and additional .NET Enterprise Server software.