Microsoft Philanthropies will donate $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years, according to its president Brad Smith.
With support from Microsoft Research and Microsoft Business Development, the move is intended to support 70,000 nonprofits.
“While the cloud marketplace is reaching a rapidly growing number of customers around the world, it is not yet benefiting everyone,” Smith said in a blog post.
“If we’re going to realize Microsoft’s mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, we need to reach those that the market is not yet reaching,” he added.
Smith said corporate philanthropy needs to be reinvented for the next decade to ensure help for people and organizations the cloud is not yet serving.
“This will require extensive efforts on a global basis that reflect varied needs around the world, oftentimes in ways that bring companies, NGOs and governments together in new public-private partnerships,” he said.
Microsoft launched three concrete initiatives -- through that are designed to ensure that cloud services are easily accessible to nonprofit organizations, faculty researchers in universities and people who currently lack affordable broadband access.
First, the software giant will build on its longstanding global software donation programs to create a "comprehensive and industry-leading" donations program to provide cloud services to nonprofit organizations worldwide.
Second, the company will “significantly expand” its Microsoft Azure for Research program, which grants free Azure storage and computing resources to help faculty accelerate their research.
And third, Microsoft will pursue new initiatives that bring together Microsoft Business Development and Microsoft Philanthropies to combine investments in innovative new technologies for last-mile connectivity access with donated access to our cloud services.