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Azure Challenges AWS in Wooing Startups

In the ongoing market positioning moves among leading cloud computing providers, Microsoft has offered a tilt at Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) by increasing its benefits offered to startup companies who adopt the Azure platform.

In a July 1 update to its BizSpark Plus program, Microsoft will offer $120,000 of free services to eligible startups.

"The offer expands our existing BizSpark Plus program which, in addition to open source friendly Azure, provides free software, developer tools and technical support to help startups be successful," Microsoft exec Steve Guggenheimer said in a blog post last week.

The move is a direct challenge to AWS and the Google Cloud Platform, which round out the top three public cloud service providers. AWS has offered the AWS Activate global program for startups since October 2013. It launched with training, support, promotional credits, a dedicated startup forum and special offers from third parties. A Self-Starter Package is available with a free usage tier, and promotional credits are offered in two plans, one which provides up to $15,000 in credits for two years or $100,000 for one year.

Google also offers $100,000 in credits among the benefits of its Google Cloud Platform for Startups. So, accordingly, Microsoft upped the ante to $120,000.

"We have spent a tremendous amount of time listening to better understand what startups need to be successful," Guggenheimer said. "From deeper support for open source technologies and tools on Azure to running and managing seven accelerators in seven countries, via our Microsoft Ventures programs, we're taking the feedback to heart. If you're interested in taking part in this program, we encourage you to reach out to your local accelerator to see if you qualify and visit Microsoft.com/startups to learn more about the program.

For its part in the continuing cloud tussle, AWS announced updates to the AWS Activate program about 13 months ago, including a new AWS Startup Blog, a Startup Spotlight to feature stories and experiences of fledgling companies, more third-party offers and offers from other Amazon services as part of a new Amazon Toolbox. The latter includes offerings from Amazon Payments and AWS Marketplace.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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