Microsoft Philanthropies pledges $1 billion worth of cloud services to non-profits and university researchers over the next 3 years. Microsoft Philanthropies is a newly-formed unit and integral piece of a three-part initiative, which ensures that the company’s cloud computing resources serve the public.
During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the company’s commitment. The event’s theme is the fourth industrial revolution.
An event where big-shot business people, celebs and politicians ponder the fourth industrial, post-digital revolution comprised of designer babies, A.I. robots, memory extraction, and discussions about what the government needs to do with the blue, and white, collar workers that are slowly replaced by automated machines.
CEO Nadella says that cloud computing is crucial to the industrial revolution’s success, and Microsoft’s $1 billion donation should help solve some of the problems.
More than 70,000 organizations across the world will have access to the company’s tech, which, Microsoft hopes, will lead to a much improved human condition, and, ultimately, drive growth, says Nadella.
In 2015, 193 heads of state have adopted 17 sustainable development goals. The purpose is to achieve them by 2013 – goals include ending hunger and poverty, and ensuring reliable and affordable, sustainable energy for everyone.
Nadella adds that the computational power and scale that are enabled by cloud computing is essential to discover solutions to the world’s apparently impossible to solve problems. This means that those 70,000 NGOs will have access to Enterprise Mobility Suite, CRM Online, Power Bi and Azure. Microsoft has already offered Office 365 for free.
Microsoft will continue to add another 300 projects, aimed at university researchers, to its already massive Azure for Research program, which currently provides free computing resources and Azure storage to north of 600 projects.
A connectivity program started by Microsoft has granted $75,000 to startups that have new ideas on how to enhance last-mile connection tech. Applications closed this week, but Microsoft Philanthropies is planning on supporting twenty projects in about fifteen countries all around the world, by the middle of next year.
Microsoft Philanthropies is lead by Vice President Mary Snapp, a tried-and-tested lawyer at Microsoft who reports directly to legal office chief Brad Smith.
According to the company, in 2015 Microsoft has donated $950 million in-kind, and $120 million in cash to various organizations across the world.
Don’t want to be a cynic, but what will happen with these programs after the three years are over? Usually, these kinds of programs are meant to entice people to jump on board, and keep them after the initial free trial runs out.
The same goes for education – after students graduate, they will keep using these services because they are familiar, but will they have to pay for them? Or Microsoft will extend the no-cost grace period, ultimately, not charging a dime ever?
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