In a bold move, Microsoft has just said that it plans to donate $1 billion in cloud services to nongovernmental organizations and researchers over three years. The reason being, it wishes to provide access to these services to communities that can’t afford them. All of this was announced on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
According to a statement by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, “Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services—the most transformative technologies of our generation. 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.”
Yes, Microsoft plans to assist some 70,000 nonprofit organizations (NGOs) through one or more of its cloud offerings by the end of next year and hopes to help even more after that. According to Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, part of that plan is to dole out almost $350 million in cloud services to nonprofits in 2016 alone.
“While the marketplace is reaching a rapidly growing number of customers around the world, it is not yet benefitting everyone,” Smith said. “If we’re going to realize Microsoft’s mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, we need to reach those that the market is not yet reaching.”
More than just an act of goodwill—although it mostly is because the offer is at fair market value—the donation would benefit the company by winning over a number of potential long-term users to its cloud platform. That would certainly create some long-term business for the corporation. Something skeptics are quick to note.
But in all honesty, what corporation or product that claims it wants to help you is truly 100% sincere. Coca Cola wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, and then wanted to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. But really, it wanted the world to buy its Coke … and never stop. And guess what? It hasn’t.
So good luck to Microsoft’s Philanthropic arm—even if it’s not 100% the real thing—and all of its recipients in their endeavors. And enjoy that Coca-Cola earworm that’s now boring its way into your brain.