Microsoft Eyes Startups for its Cloud Platform

Microsoft Eyes Startups for its Cloud Platform

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Bangalore:   Microsoft yesterday announced its partnership with Techstars that would permit and help the company access to more than 400 startups around the world to sell its Azure cloud platform. Techstars is an elite mentorship-driven start-up accelerator and seed fund.  With this partnership Microsoft gets a deal to host its Azure platform as a service for one year to current and former Techstars members, and the members continuing for second year will have to pay half off, up to $60,000. The deal would also extend to the more than 300 startups that are part of TechStar’s Global Accelerator program that connects 40 incubators worldwide.

Azure has been in the market since Feb 2010, but couldn’t manage to gather much fame despite some big customers into its kitty.  Pratick Riley, business development direstor at Techstars discussed about Azure’s weak market during the past year and 2010 he noted that during 2010, 35 percent of the incubator’s startups used Amazon’s services, 30 percent used Rackspace, 20 percent used Media Temple and 5 percent used SoftLayer and rest 15 percent fell under “other category” which may or may not include Azure.

Meanwhile the big question is how to get startups on board? Since this is very crucial for the future of cloud business. Big enterprises are the ones that have enough money to spend but their cloud deployments form a small chunk of their IT operations and moreover they never commit fully to the cloud. On the other hand startups are risky on the growth front but once convinced they tend to last longer than others and give maximum commitment

Lately Azure has geared up to broaden its base by adding new features such as support for languages like Node.js  which is turning out to be a hot option for web developers. Microsoft had also taken initiatives to offer discounts to startups when Azure was launched as part of BizSpark program,  bu this partnership with Techstars is considered more significant in terms of how much it can offer the startups.

But as Microsoft tries to sell startups with its services, is this deal enough to turn the tide of startups away from Amazon and Rackspace? Well Azure is said to be a quality platform, so probably it will take some time for startups to jump over Microsoft’s cloud during their formative weeks. If the deal works out well with startups Microsoft can sure make strides with tomorrow’s big cloud customers.

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