Microsoft has announced that it will donate cloud services to non-profit organisations over the next three years.
The services will be worth in excess of $1bn (£710m) and the aim of the programme is to push cloud computing forward while helping companies that are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. Most of the funds for this project will be used to provide free cloud computing services or discounted services such as Office 365, Azure services and data storage.
Free Azure will be provided for universities and there will also be a programme that invests in companies promoting internet connectivity in poorer nations. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella is trying to expand the cloud computing side of the company’s business and boost the use of Microsoft software products.
Microsoft launched Microsoft Philanthropies last month to boost its efforts in the charity sector and the company recognises that investment is needed to expand the reach of its software. Students and educators are another key market for software and tools; however , there is a great deal of competition from rival providers in this area.
The first phase of the programme aims to help around 70,000 non-profit companies within the next three years, while the plan to expand the use of Azure in universities will result in a 50% increase on the existing 600 institutions already using the service.
There will also be a collaboration between the new charity arm of the company and the business development side. One project in Kenya to boost internet connectivity has already been funded.