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Microsoft "Empower" Program

Has anyone tried this program from Microsoft ?  Are there any bad aspects to it ?

Curious entrepreneur
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Have you looked at the main page of Joel's website? He gave a long review just a couple weeks ago, and it's still there.

Anon. Coward
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Currently the US Empower program is being discounted at 50%, $375.  I'm about to find out if the UK are going to do the same.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Discount ?  Wow. I already thought it was a good deal. In fact, it seems "too good to be true" so I am wondering what could be bad...

There is a 12 month deadline of course and the testing requirements, but both of these can be good as well by setting a goal and minimum quality requirements.

Thanks Simon for the heads up on the possible discount...

Kentasy
Sunday, November 23, 2003

It's a trap. Read the fine print:

1) All licenses expire in 1 year.
2) You need to get your app Win certified.
3) You need to join a MS partnership program.

And then estimate the real cost. Thanks, Joel.

Nick
Sunday, November 23, 2003

> 1) All licenses expire in 1 year.

The membership expires in one year, as do all other standard MSDN subscriptions.

> 2) You need to get your app Win certified.

No, you don't. You need to make a "reasonable commercial effort" to do so. The program only needs a "verified" test, which is $800 for the Windows XP test.

> 3) You need to join a MS partnership program.

No, you do not. Again, you need to make a "reasonable commerical effort" to do so, assuming you pass certification, which you may not. In any case, it's $2500.

So, for $3675 (of which only $375 needs to be paid up front, the rest are more or less discretionary - "we cannot afford it" is a good reasonable excuse why you can't get tested) for software worth (5 * $2,199), or $10,995.

It's not a trap. It's a deal, any way you cut it. For $375 you get 10K worth of software, unless you've got a lot of money for testing. I don't know about you, but sign me the hell up.

Tim Sullivan
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Thx for the details Tim.  Just out of curiosity, schedules tend to slip -- what happens if your program actually is released in 24 months instead of 12?  Does Microsoft bill you for the software, or take your firstborn child?

Robert Jacobson
Sunday, November 23, 2003

How about the Microsoft "Bend Over Program" (BOP)?

Bella
Monday, November 24, 2003

I haven't seen the requirements to actually go through Certification, only that the application is available within the 12 months.

Making a reasonable commercial effort is meaningless, if you decide at the end of the development process or during QA that there's no viable market anyway then the reasonable commercial effort is to forget it.

There is a seeming difference in the licencing.  If you have an MSDN subscription then the subscription lapses at the end of 12 months but the licences for the software received during the lifetime of the MSDN subscription continue.

However, the Empower program talks about receiving limited Microsoft software licences but delivered using the Universal MSDN DVD set.  Quite how the subscriber or Microsoft could differentiate between licences in actual use seems unclear.

Simon Lucy
Monday, November 24, 2003

From today the Empower pricing in Europe is also running at a 50% discount.

Simon Lucy
Monday, November 24, 2003

It's a legal minefield. And the last thing I want is to argue with Microsoft's lawyers over the meaning of the word "reasonable".

Especially if my software is successful.

And, Tim:

1) The licenses also expire in one year, *unlike* the MSDN licenses.

2) The hidden cost of Empower you estimated was $3675.

Here's my actual costs, per developer:
WinXP Pro: $150
VS Pro: $100

For a 5 ppl ISV: $1250
Plus $750 for one VSPro optimizing copy: $$2000

Everything else we're using is free software. Now, that's a deal.

Nick
Monday, November 24, 2003

Nick: You're right, the licenses do expire.

However, I phoned MS about this, and they said that there is no negative action taken if you don't get your program certified or join as a certified partner. Those are just reccommended goals.

So, for $375, you get to use 10Gs worth of software for a year. Still a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

Tim Sullivan
Monday, November 24, 2003

In Belgium the current price for the Empower program is 320 EUR. They also give you a voucher (till end December)so that testing is free. No catch as far as I can tell.

Francis Van Aeken  [ http://jacksondj.com ]

Francis Van Aeken
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Hey,  Someone above is posing as Bella.  Quit it.

Bella
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

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