Microsoft is donating $1 billion in cloud computing services to charity

Satya Nadella, Chile Youthspark winner Belen GuedeMicrosoftSatya Nadella and Chile Youthspark winner Belen Guede

Microsoft announced today a new plan to donate $1 billion worth of cloud computing services to nonprofits, charities, and universities over the next three years, alongside a new plan to bring broadband to underserved areas.

The idea, explains Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a blog post, is to give access to the computing power afforded by public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure even to those nonprofits and charities who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

Quoth Nadella:

“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.”

Those cloud services include the Microsoft Azure computing cloud and the Office 365 cloud productivity suite, both major Microsoft products and the focus of much of the company’s strategy. This initiative will be overseen by the company’s newly-formed Microsoft Philanthropies branch.

In another blog post, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith sets out the goal of serving 70,000 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the first year of this program, donating services “with a fair market value of close to $350 million.”

“Taken together we believe these steps will ensure that nonprofit organisations and university researchers around the world obtain the access they need to pursue cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most pressing problems,” Smith writes.

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