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Microsoft to boost start-up investment

Microsoft has started a venture capital fund to pursue early-stage technology investments, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence. This follows our report that it was becoming a major player in tech M&A.

The new fund is called Microsoft Ventures -- not to be confused with the existing group by that name, a startup accelerator that will be renamed "Microsoft Accelerator." The new Microsoft Ventures will sit on a continuum between Microsoft Accelerator and the company's bigger, more traditional M&A activity.

The company has typically invested alongside commercial deals, so the new creation is a move to an earlier part of the process. The unit will open offices in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Tel Aviv and will be run by Nagraj Kashyap and Peggy Johnson, both veterans of Qualcomm