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microsoftlogo1-1024x680Startup accelerator Y Combinator is known for being the birthplace of startups that go on to do big things, like Reddit, Instacart and Airbnb. Now, Microsoft is offering companies that go through the Y Combinator program $500,000 in credit to its Azure cloud platform in an attempt to draw them away from competing cloud services.

The credits, which were announced in a blog post by Y Combinator President Sam Altman, will be available to companies going through YC’s Winter 2015 batch and future classes. It’s an important move by Microsoft, since the credits could entice future tech powerhouses to build the killer apps of the future on top of the Redmond-based tech giant’s cloud infrastructure.

Getting in on the ground floor as a cloud service provider can be an important revenue opportunity. As companies grow their businesses, their cloud service bills grow too. That means Microsoft could make a whole lot of money off companies that take the credits and go on to be wildly successful, even if they turn out to be competitors.

Case in point: even though Amazon is in tight competition with Netflix in the streaming video space, it’s still making money off the latter’s popularity. That’s because Netflix’s streaming technology runs on Amazon Web Services, which means that Netflix has to pay Amazon for its popularity.

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