Microsoft Plans to Make Billion Dollar Donation
According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft will donate a billion dollars’ worth or cloud computing services over the next three years to 70,000 non-profit groups and researchers. This announcement is only part of Microsoft’s initiative to leverage cloud computing services for public good. Microsoft President Brad Smith commented in a release, “We’re committed to helping nonprofit groups and universities use cloud computing to address fundamental human challenges. One of our ambitions for Microsoft Philanthropies is to partner with these groups to ensure that cloud computing reaches more people and serves the broadest array of societal needs.” The decision to donate the amount of one billion dollars is not based on the cost to provide these cloud services, but is instead based on the market price of cloud services according to the company.
This initiative is said to consist of three stages, including making cloud services like Microsoft Azure more available to non-profits, which will occur through the donation program. In addition, Microsoft plans to expand the Microsoft Azure for Research program by fifty percent. This program allows free Azure storage and cloud computing resources to help research at the university level; upwards of 600 research projects currently receive free cloud computing through the program. Microsoft also plans to support 20 partnerships focused on connectivity and training in 15 countries by the middle of 2017. The donation program will launch in the spring of 2016.
Nadella commented, “Among the questions being asked in Davos are these: If cloud computing is one of the most important transformations of our time, how do we ensure that its benefits are universally accessible? What if only wealthy societies have access to the data, intelligence, analytics and insights that come from the power of mobile and cloud computing? Last fall, world leaders at the United Nations adopted 17 sustainable development goals to tackle some of the toughest global problems by 2030, including poverty, hunger, health and education.”
Some have become concerned that this massive donation could undermine the work of companies specializing in software for nonprofits.