As reported on TechCrunch, Microsoft launched its first startup accelerator on Tuesday. The program is intended to foster innovation for “early stage startups doing big things in cloud, web and mobile” and to indirectly promote adoption of Windows Azure. Participating startups will receive free access to the Window Azure platform instead of seed capital. The accelerator will be housed at Microsoft’s Israel Research and Development Center. Called the Windows Azure accelerator, the program is part of the Microsoft BizSpark initiative. As in the case of the Microsoft BizSpark Plus accelerator TechStars, select startups will “be able to leverage a development environment based on the cloud services of Windows Azure, including development tools, processing and storage resources, and more, to a value of tens of thousands of dollars per startup at no charge. The tools will remain at the startups’ disposal even after they complete their incubation.” The Windows Azure accelerator promises to increase global adoption of Windows Azure by targeting Israel’s vibrant startup community.