Microsoft plans to donate $1bn in cloud services to nonprofits, researchers
20 January 2016 | 0
The new Microsoft Philanthropies arm of the company, set up last month, will provide nonprofits with the full suite of Microsoft cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, so that NGOs can run applications and make use of computing and storage power, CRM Online to manage relationships with donors and beneficiaries, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite to manage all of their devices, applications, and data.
Microsoft aims to address 70,000 NGOs through one or more of its cloud offerings by the end of 2017 and will focus on serving even more groups after that every year, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post. In 2016 alone, the company expects to donate close to $350 million in cloud services to nonprofits, according to Smith.
The other leg of the Microsoft program is the expansion by 50% of donations for its current Microsoft Azure for Research programme, which has so far provided free cloud computing resources for over 600 research projects on six continents. Microsoft is also planning to donate cloud services combined with last-mile connectivity for underserved communities around the world. The company is focused on using TV white spaces, which are unused portions of wireless spectrum in the frequency bands generally used for television, for last-mile connectivity.
Microsoft has been pushing its cloud services around the world, including setting up data centers in some countries to meet local government requirements that data should be stored locally.
Philanthropy efforts by tech companies have, however, been viewed with scepticism, as they are seen as secretly promoting business agendas. Facebook’s Free Basics, a programme to provide select Internet services including Facebook to users without data charges, has been criticised in India as a way to promote the social networking platform.
Microsoft’s programme to use TV white spaces for connectivity has also been criticized by the Indian mobile industry, which is demanding that the white spaces should be auctioned rather than given free.
IDG News Service