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Microsoft enlists VC firm in .Net push

The software giant chooses Madrona Venture Group to take part in a program to persuade start-up companies to participate in its software-as-a-service initiative.

    Microsoft continues to spread its .Net strategy.

    The software giant on Tuesday chose Madrona Venture Group to take part in a program to persuade start-up companies to participate in its software-as-a-service initiative.

    Under the terms of the agreement, companies that are funded by Madrona will receive discounts on hardware, software and product support services; joint marketing opportunities; and technology consulting, among other benefits.

    Calls to Microsoft and Madrona were not returned.

    The Microsoft Investor Connection Program is designed for companies building products and services that Microsoft believes will help promote .Net. The program offers venture capital firms a way to partner with Microsoft by providing access to .Net and XML Web Service-related technology, services and products for the companies in their portfolios.

    The .Net strategy is aimed at making Microsoft's existing software available over the Web to traditional PCs and to increasingly popular devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants.

    Seattle-based Madrona is one of the largest venture capital firms in the Pacific Northwest. The company, one of a few select firms chosen to participate in the program, will identify a group of start-ups within its portfolio that are well-suited to support Microsoft's .Net strategy.