I remember being impressed, more than three years ago, by this post by Joel Spolsky on Microsoft's "Empowering" partner program. It looked like Microsoft was (for once) doing the right thing to help the little guy.
Now that I'm starting to explore the possibilities of setting up shop by myself, I'm looking around for similar programs; I don't plan to use MS stuff, so Empower is simply not for me. I intend to use mainly free open source tools at the moment, but chances are that sooner or later I'll have to pay my tribute to some Big Company, so it might be good to get some info on ways to save a few bucks or get good tech tips.
My biz plan involves J2ME apps, Python (for django, so web stuff) and the inevitable database; it might (or might not) include some very small (and collateral) piece of desktop software sometime in the future. A proper custom-built server will probably enter the equation very soon, and sooner or later I'll need new hardware anyway. So, what's out there that might interest me?
First I checked the Sun Partner Advantage program. It seems to consist mainly in hardware discounts (fair enough, they are first of all a hardware company... aren't they?); the Mobile initiative is limited to big players, not everyday members (bad, bad move). Not sure is worth the hassle, as their gear is really uber-priced and I couldn't ever make them my preferred hardware supplier. I might be wrong though; the Sun website is a perfect reflection of the company: huge, disparate, often byzantine, full of hidden gems here and there as well as boatloads of useless marketing spiels... I might have missed the great bits, who knows.
I've also looked into the Trolltech partner program, for the (inevitable) little desktop bits. As much as I love the technology, anything technically significant comes with the $1500/yr option; overall, it feels more like a commercial relationship than technical partnership. Probably too pricey for what I need.
Uhm, what else? Where's the killer partner for new mobile/web startups?