Microsoft offers Mac devs cheap Windows 8 and new VMs

Almost by law, web developers feel compelled to grumble about Microsoft, but it’s hard to complain about modern.IE.

As we reported in January, the website surprised and pleased developers with its tools and advice for dealing with Internet Explorer. According to IEBlog, Microsoft is now taking things a step further, especially for Mac-based developers.

Most importantly (or at least immediately), Microsoft is offering a limited number of Windows QuickStart kits for Mac via Swish. (Warning: that site is, at the time of writing, getting a lot of traffic.) The kit includes Parallels Desktop 8 and Windows 8 on a USB stick and will be yours for a $25 donation to charity (plus $8 US shipping/$16 international). UPDATE: This offer is now sold out.

“We heard that the most common way you test across browsers is through virtualisation of browser and operating system combinations using your favourite virtualisation platform, such as Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, or Parallels,” said Sandeep Singhal, group program manager, Internet Explorer. “However, costs to purchase software and licensing can be difficult if you’re that startup looking for your first big breakthrough,” added Singhal. The kit would, he said, make things "a little easier."

The blog post added that new VMs are now available (IE10 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP) and the ‘scan a web page’ URL, “now identifies more interoperability issues, even for sites located behind a firewall”.

The company also announced a partnership with the Webby Awards to launch the Webby Award Winners Gallery + Archive. This site will showcase winners and nominees from the past 16 years. “Like IE, the Webby Awards supports new online experiences that push the boundaries of the web,” explained a Microsoft spokesperson, who added: “The site takes advantage of many of IE10’s features, including full multi-touch support and HTML5.”

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