Microsoft Donating $1B in Cloud Services for 'Public Good'
Over the next three years, the software giant plans to offer nonprofits expanded access to its cloud computing services and demolish last-mile connectivity obstacles with TV white spaces.On the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, announced yesterday that his company's new philanthropic arm will donate $1 billion in cloud computing resources to 70,000 nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) over a three-year period. "Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services—the most transformative technologies of our generation," Nadella in a statement. "Now more than 70,000 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.” Through the company's Microsoft Philanthropies organization, the software giant plans to "serve the public good" by providing cloud services such as Microsoft Azure and Enterprise Mobility Suite to nonprofits; offering 900 university faculty researchers expanded access to Microsoft Azure for Research; and tackling the last-mile connectivity challenges that keep broadband Internet access out of the reach of many communities. The cloud's ability to overcome technological problems can also be harnessed to solve societal issues, asserted Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer for Microsoft, in an official company blog post. "Cloud services can unlock the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs, not just for science and technology, but for addressing the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services," he wrote.
Despite its reach and transformative effects on the IT industry, a digital divide, of sorts, hangs over the cloud computing market.