Free clouds! Microsoft gives Y Combinator startups $500K in Azure credits

sdn money 100451184 orig

Microsoft is just giving away its cloud at this point.

The company announced a partnership with startup incubator Y Combinator to provide a half-million to startups being bred at the Silicon Valley startup hub. In addition to the $500,000 in Azure credits, companies will have access to three years of Microsoft Office tools and “direct access to Microsoft’s engineering teams,” whatever that means.

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“This is a big deal for many startups—it’s common for hosting to be the second largest expense after salaries,” Y Combinator president Sam Altman wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

Y Combinator is sometimes referred to as a “startup school.” Selected entrepreneurs move to California for three months to get guidance and some funding; $120,000 was distributed to 85 startups in the latest round. Companies like Reddit, DropBox and Docker are Y Combinator alumni.

Microsoft is obviously attempting to court startups to its cloud platform, realizing that if startups are born on Azure that when they become big, they turn into big customers. Attracting young developers and startups is something chief competitor Amazon Web Services has excelled at.

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