BizSpark - can I use the licenses for something else than just software development


I want to apply to bizspark. The core of the business is to build Software. Though there is also a smaller part of the business that is photography for our clients. We are developing also a website where we show this photos, but other people can use the service too, so it is SAAS, not for client application.

Questions: 1) Can I use Microsoft licenses for my business?
2) what do the inspections and audits consist of?


asked Jul 20 '11 at 17:40
147 points

2 Answers


As far as I know the software is only to be used for development, testing and presentation.

Quote from the MSDN.

Many MSDN subscribers use a computer for mixed use—both design, development, testing, and demonstration of your programs (the use allowed under the MSDN subscription license) and some other use. Using the software in any other way, such as for doing email, playing games, or editing a document is another use and is not covered by the MSDN subscription license. When this happens, the underlying operating system must also be licensed normally by purchasing a regular copy of Windows such as the one that came with a new OEM PC.

I have not experienced any audits/inspections yet so I can't comment on them. There are phone calls from time to times with offerings but that's all there was to it so far.
answered Jul 20 '11 at 18:26
167 points
  • how about the audits? Does anyone know what they consist of? – Ryan 13 years ago
  • @Amenti: For this, we should probably work from the BizSpark terms, as the can/do supplement and override the other Microsoft terms. – Jesper Mortensen 13 years ago
  • @Jesper Mortensen I did not find any special terms regarding BizSpark so far. Maybe someone else knows more about this. – Amenti 13 years ago
  • @Ryan I edited the answer to add my experiences. – Amenti 13 years ago


It's hard to give you a definitive answer. You're going against the intentions of BizSpark, but the question would be, which intentions and actions dominate? If you are really in good faith pushing hard on the SAAS side, and the photography is really a small side track, then I can't imagine anyone would make an issue of this.

From the Microsoft hosting overview :

The BizSpark servers cannot be used where they don’t support an application the Startup developed. In other words, the BizSpark licenses don’t apply when the Startup
* Offers the servers simply as a hosted platform(e.g. a SQL Server database)
* Uses the servers as a platform for another company’s application, such as a CRM application from a third party

The exact terms are complicated, and vary depending on the software -- Windows Server, SQL Server, etc. You will have to read the "BizSpark Startup Agreement" and "BizSpark End User License Agreement" (at the bottom of the page).

2) what do the inspections and audits consist of?

To the best of my knowledge, there are no inspections or audits in the normal BizSpark flow. I'd guess these provisions are in place so that Microsoft can use them if you appear to abuse the program. I know a handful of startups who are in BizSpark, and have never heard of inspections or aggressive license enforcement.
answered Jul 20 '11 at 22:38
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points

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