Microsoft Israel launching start up incubator

The Windows Azure Accelerator in Herzliya will be Microsoft's first incubator in the world.

Microsoft Israel's R&D center is setting up a start up incubator - Windows Azure Accelerator. After years of passive support for start ups, during which Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) provided access to development tools and services, the company is joining the growing trend in the high tech industry.

Windows Azure Accelerator is a precedent for Microsoft; it will be the company's first incubator in the world. It will be based at Microsoft Israel's R&D center in Herzliya Pituah.

The incubator's name is derived from the aspect of activities that Microsoft is most interested in - cloud computing, internet, and mobile. The incubator is a four-month program for start ups. Microsoft says that the program will include direction from top industry experts, including its own R&D center, and that it will offer the tools start ups need to get on the path to success.

Microsoft Israel's R&D center said, "Microsoft Israel was chosen by the company to set up the first accelerator incubator in view of Microsoft's widespread activity among start-ups in Israel, and its wealth of experience and know-how in fostering companies for the global market."

Microsoft Israel VP strategy and business development Zack Weisfeld said that the company wanted to assist, but not acquire, the companies. "Microsoft does not plan to acquire stakes in the participating companies, and it will solely focus on fostering them and the industry."

Microsoft added, "The incubator will have a designated management team, which we are now recruiting, including a CEO and CTO, whose sole job will be managing the incubator."

Last November, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced that it plans opening an incubator in Tel Aviv in August 2012.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 14, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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