Having completely failed to take on Google in internet services, software giant Microsoft is trying a new tack – by setting up an ‘incubator' organisation to fund online and mobile start-up companies.
The Bing Fund – named after Microsoft's search engine – is an angel fund that, along with finance, the company will back with "the experience, expertise and resources of Microsoft", according to Microsoft's official announcement.
The fund is based out of the Bellevue, Washington State, headquarters of Microsoft's Online Services Group.
Supporting resources on offer include:
• "Subsidised use of unique APIs from Bing's data ecosystem;
• The opportunity to access certain technology assets developed by Microsoft Research;
• Assistance from Bing Fund team members who specialise in design, engineering, marketing and building businesses;
• Consultations with subject matter experts at Microsoft;
• Exposure to Microsoft executives;
• Connections with our partners and customers;
• Co-workspace for start-ups located in the Seattle area."
It adds: "We are not a venture fund, but will partner with the venture capital community."
In return, Microsoft expects "to build strong relationships within the start-up community, which will expose us to new companies that we could potentially partner with and/or acquire".
While use of Microsoft technologies is not required, the company will be particularly interested in supporting start-ups building products on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform.
The Bing Fund is one of a number of initiatives for start-up and young companies offered by Microsoft. Others include BizSpark, which is for start-ups that are developing software, privately held, less than three years old and generating less than $1m (£640,000) in annual revenue.