Microsoft plans to donate $1B in cloud services

Microsoft plans to donate $1 billion in cloud services over three years to nongovernmental organizations and researchers in a bid to provide access to these services to communities that can’t afford them.

The donation by Microsoft, the size of which has been calculated at fair market value, could also bring long-term business benefits, as it would help the company win over a number of potential long-term users to its cloud platform.

Among the questions being asked at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, is how to make the benefits of cloud technology available universally rather than let only wealthy societies have access to the data, intelligence, analytics and insights that come from cloud computing, wrote Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a blog post Tuesday.

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 nonprofits 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 nonprofit organizations (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.

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