Microsoft announced today that its startup programs are all going to be brought under one roof with a new name: Microsoft Ventures.
The program is designed to create a single nexus for all of Microsoft’s programs so that startups have an easier time of taking advantage of them. As Microsoft continues to push its Windows Azure cloud services platform, reaching out to startups will be key to snatching market share away from Amazon Web Services, which has been the preferred cloud service provider for startups.
Microsoft Ventures has three components. The first is a new community program, which encompasses BizSpark as well as partnerships that Microsoft has with local organizations that support startups around the world.
Second, the company’s accelerator program will also become part of Microsoft Ventures, and will expand to Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janiero.
Third, Bing Fund will be rolled into Microsoft Ventures and expanded to provide seed funding to a wider range of startups. However, in order to receive funding, startups that apply must demonstrate some form of existing business success.
Microsoft said that it will provide more detail about the program in a session at tomorrow’s START conference.
GeekWire’s Todd Bishop is headed to San Francisco and will be posting from Microsoft’s Build developer conference throughout the week. Stay tuned for more coverage starting tomorrow.
Previously on GeekWire: The 3 best pitches from the TechStars Windows Azure accelerator
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.