Microsoft's philanthropic arm is making a big donation to university researchers and 70,000 non-profit organizations. Instead of money, though, Redmond is giving them $1 billion worth of cloud services over the next three years. The company doled out free devices in the past, but CEO Satya Nadella has decided on donating cloud services this time. He believes cloud computing has become "a vital resource for addressing the world's problems" that the schools and nonprofits are trying to solve.
Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer writes:
Cloud services can unlock the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs, not just for science and technology, but for addressing the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services. They can also improve communications and problem-solving and can help organizations work in a more productive and efficient manner.
This particular initiative is a three-part project. The first part expands Microsoft's global software donation program to include its full suite of cloud services. That suite includes Microsoft Azure, allowing nonprofits around the globe to access Redmond's data centers to run their apps, and Enterprise Mobility Suite that will enable the orgs to manage all their devices/apps/data on a cross-platform basis. It also comes with CRM Online, which they can use to manage donoros, as well as an expanded version of the Office 365 Nonprofit program. The latter is comprised of cloud-based Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint bundled with Power BI for data analytics.
The company is also expanding its Microsoft Azure for Research program, which gives free Azure storage and computing resources to researchers. Finally, the company plans to grow its connectivity initiative, which funds internet access in remote communities. One good example of Microsoft's connectivity projects is the white space internet it established in Kenya and Tanzania.