Microsoft’s Ballmer Woos Advertisers, Launches Startup Fund In London

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer has been in town on a couple of disparate engagements. reported Ballmer was due in London to address a gathering of media buying agencies representing the majority of the UK’s £13 billion annual ad spend. It was pitched as an attempt to win over advertisers now that Microsoft is getting increasingly serious about that market through its acquisition this year of aQuantive, for example.

Ballmer today unveiled the launch of a new UK startup fund, the Microsoft Startup Accelerator Programme. The program will include use of technologies such as Silverlight, Microsoft’s multimedia browser plug-in, and Live Services, a group of Web-based applications. Microsoft will also offer assistance in business development, marketing, and sales.

At least five companies have joined the program so far: Ether Digital, which has a platform for video content over IP; Zebtab, which has a desktop video application; Corebridge, involved in customer relationship management and communication software; ViaPost, which focuses on electronic document delivery; and Miomi, with a Web site that lets people mesh their own content with interactive timelines. Meanwhile, The Times got an interview with Ballmer and stretches a quote from him to suggest the Microsoft man thinks Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is overpaid.