In another rush of philanthropy, Microsoft has announced its intentions of donating $1 billion in Microsoft Cloud services to non-profits over the next three years. Satya Nadella, the CEO of the Redmond-based giant made an announcement to that effect today.
The non-profits will be able to make use of the wide variety of tools Microsoft offers, including Azure, Office 365, PowerBI and CRM online through this program. Microsoft already allows access to Office 365 for nonprofits and this initiative will expand the range of tools that can be utilized by these organizations.
As per Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella,
Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services — the most transformative technologies of our generation, Now more than 70,000 organizations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.
The program will also see the company expand its reach to university researchers, who will be able to access Azure storage and computing resources for free. While the company already runs a grant for this purpose and at present supports around 600 researchers, it plans to increase its reach to embrace more universities and scholars.
Finally, the company will work towards “Reaching new communities with last-mile connectivity and cloud services with investments in new, low-cost last-mile Internet access technologies and community training.” Basically, that means the development and implementation of technologies that will enable it to help some of the most technologically — and often economically and socially — backwards global communities.
By combining cloud services with connectivity and training, and focusing on new public-private partnerships, Microsoft Philanthropies intends to support 20 of these projects in at least 15 countries around the world by the middle of 2017.
While the initiative is certainly very noble and will go a long way towards helping Non-profits, Scholars and Communities, it will be possible to take a real measure of Microsoft’s generosity only after three years. It will be interesting to see if the company decides to extend the “Free” program after the three years of if it decides to get itself a whole bunch of new customers, many of which wouldn’t be averse to paying for services they have come to rely upon in the past three years.
For now though, we appreciate this move from Microsoft Philanthropies and hope that it will encourage other corporations to work towards helping non-profits, scholars and the like too.