RealTime IT News

Microsoft Spearheads European Fund Finding

At a time when funding the growth of small and medium businesses is a challenge, Microsoft , Intel and HP formed a consortium to help European SMBs locate money from the European Union.

The group will use Microsoft's European Union Grants Advisor (EUGA) initiative, which helps small and midsize businesses obtain grants from the EU, as the basis to stimulate SMB growth in the 25 countries of the EU.

EUGA will help SMBs with the application process should they wish to apply for grants. Originally tested in Spain, the initiative was extended to Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and France earlier this year.

"The majority of businesses in Europe are small and medium-sized enterprises and, with a contribution of 57 percent to the GDP, they are a key driving force behind the creation of new and better jobs, as well as stimulating competitiveness and innovation," said Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The companies expect the investment will help the 20 million SMBs in Europe, including 140 million workers. SMB business is also strong in the U.S., with several high-tech giants targeting smaller companies for new revenue sources after tapping out large enterprises.

While Microsoft has catered to SMBs in the United States for years, it has operated in EMEA since 1982, employing more than 12,000 people in more than 55 subsidiaries.

The EUGA initiative comes at a time when Microsoft is at odds with the EU, which is still weighing the kinds of sanctions it will place on the company for antitrust issues.

The commission fined Microsoft $613 million for abusing its monopoly position, and it ordered the company to unbundled its Windows Media Player software from Windows in European markets.

Earlier this week, Microsoft officials said they have fulfilled a number of changes requested by the commission relating to the design and description of its version of Windows without Media Player.

According to an earlier internetnews.com report, this includes changes to "registry settings" and the removal of references that tell users certain products do not work without Media Player. The Redmond, Wash, software giant also agreed to call Windows versions sold in the EU Windows XP Home Edition N or Windows XP Professional Edition N.