Microsoft has announced that it will donate cloud computing resources to global non-profits over the next three years. These resources will be worth $1 billion in total. Microsoft says that it aims to ensure that technological benefits are not limited to the wealthy people of the world.
The tech giant recently stepped up its charity efforts under the banner of “Microsoft Philanthropies”, which was announced last month. Microsoft has been aggressively expanding its cloud computing services to contend against increasing competition in the market.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, stated in his blog post:
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?
Cloud computing is used to provide computing power, back-end software and hardware services, and several other applications over the internet to consumers and businesses. It is considered to be a viable alternative to acquiring and managing large scale computing power and software solutions.
In another blog post, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, gave further details about the pledged $1 billion worth of cloud computing services. He said that most of the amount will be used to provide free or discounted cloud computing resources to non-profit groups around the world. These services include, Microsoft’s Azure computing power and cloud storage which enables third-parties and organizations to host their websites and application in Microsoft data centers. Office 365 will also be offered alongside other services to allow internet based corporate services and similar uses.
Microsoft is also looking to expand access to Azure for Research Program, which provides universities and researchers with free access to cloud computing. Smith wrote:
We know from experience that this program can make a critical difference for researchers in universities.
The program can be used from protecting forests in Brazil to fighting wildfires in Greece, and from developing new medicines in the United Kingdom to modelling flood risks in Texas, dedicated university researchers have used Microsoft Azure to advance their cutting-edge research projects.
The Redmond giant aims to reach 70,000 non-profit organizations globally via the charity program. Other than that, Azure for Research is planned to expand by 50 percent at universities worldwide. The current program covers about 600 institutions.