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Visual Studio is free for developers & small businesses. MS SQL Server runs on all platforms now, is the #1 SQL database engine of 2016, and is also free & open source (and even includes the enterprise level features in the free version). You can run a commercial business on top of free, open source Microsoft technologies without having to spend a dime, as long as your business doesn't profit in the millions per year, at which point, is fairly cheap to invest in the software afterwards. AWS has a free-tier EC2 instance for Windows Server 2012 & also a free-tier RDS instance of MS SQL Server. C# can compile directly to C++ now using their CoreRT project. 60% of all code changes on the various .NET Standard & .NET Core github repos are made by the open source community outside of Microsoft.

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