Microsoft Philanthropies, the philanthropic wing of multinational technology giant Microsoft, has announced that it will donate $1 billion in Microsoft Cloud Services to nonprofit organizations and university researchers over the next three years.
The commitment is part of a three-part initiative to provide additional cloud resources to nonprofits, increase access to those resources for university researchers, and help solve last-mile Internet access challenges. Microsoft Philanthropies will begin rolling out the program for nonprofits this spring, with the goal of serving seventy thousand nonprofits, while Microsoft Research and Microsoft Philanthropies will expand by 50 percent the Microsoft Azure for Research program, which provides free Azure storage and computing resources to help university faculty accelerate their research.
Microsoft Philanthropies and Microsoft Business Development also announced that they will bundle donated access to Microsoft Cloud Services with investments in low-cost, "last-mile" Internet access technologies and community training in at least fifteen countries by mid-2017.
According to Microsoft, cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for using data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs in science and technology, and predicts that it will be essential to unlocking solutions to some of the world's most intractable problems as well as meeting the sustainable development goals agreed to by world leaders in September.
"Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services — the most transformative technologies of our generation," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who announced the commitment in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum. "Now more than seventy thousand 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."