Microsoft wants to lure Internet startups

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Microsoft wants to lure Internet startups

Microsoft launched a new programme Wednesday to help small Internet business upstarts grow up by using its software, technical support and connections at a discount.

Called Bizspark, Microsoft's initiative aims to "accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and early-stage startups" by providing software technology and business networking resources.

"Microsoft BizSpark is an exciting way for us to help provide business startups with the development tools, advice and exposure they need," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said.

"We look forward to working with organizations and development agencies around the globe to foster entrepreneurship and help new companies succeed."

Bizspark candidate startups must be privately held and under three years old, with annual revenues not exceeding one million dollars (US). To be considered for the programme, companies must be nominated by one of Microsoft's Bizspark Network Partners, which include venture capitalists and incubators, economic development agencies and nonprofit industry groups.

Participating businesses will be given discounts on Microsoft software and cloud computing services, and will be profiled in an online Bizspark directory.

"Pretty much our entire business model is hinged on other people using our technology," said Dan'l Lewin, the Microsoft's VP of Strategic and Emerging Business Development.

"Most startups don't make it. We'd like them to survive and be using our technology."
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