Microsoft’s Big Contribution: Cloud Services for Nonprofits and Researchers

Microsoft's Big Contribution: Cloud Services for Nonprofits and Researchers by Vincent ChhabraMicrosoft recently announced its plan to donate $1 billion in cloud services to nonprofit organizations and university researchers over the next three years.

Specifically, Microsoft plans to give away cloud services to roughly 70,000 nonprofits in the next three years. They also plan to expand an existing program that donates Azure storage and other computing resources to university projects by nearly 50 percent.

Microsoft’s goals is to keep its philanthropic initiatives up to date and have these reflect the most recent changes in technology. Moreover, according to Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, the reason behind the donation is to make it easier for nonprofits and researchers to have access to the cloud services that have enabled the corporate sector to advance and continue to tackle bigger technical challenges.

Microsoft’s cloud services will include Azure, a platform that allows organizations to host their own websites and applications in Microsoft’s data centers. Dynamics CRM online, another service included, is a customer relationship management platform that will help these kinds of organizations when accepting financial contributions from donors. Power BI and other Microsoft-made applications for running organizations will be included in the services donated.

According to Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, the technology company has been donating an estimated $750 million a year in traditional software and will continue to do so in addition to the cloud services donated.

Unfortunately, these huge philanthropic initiatives by technology moguls like Microsoft can sometimes be welcomed with skepticism and criticism. The claims are that the big companies will still make money out of these initiatives, even it’s not through direct sales to the recipients of the donations.

For example, Facebook’s initiative to provide free Internet access to developing countries has been recently scrutinized by net neutrality activists who claim that is just a way for Facebook to promote its services.

In their defense, Microsoft has clarified that the company will not be taking a tax deduction for the donated cloud services.