Microsoft Philanthropies To Donate $1B To Realize Nadella’s Vision Of The Public Cloud For The Public Good

Microsoft Philanthropies recently announced a commitment to donate $1B in “cloud computing resources” to universities and non-profit organizations over the next three years. Microsoft’s pledge of $1B in philanthropy toward the global expansion of cloud computing testifies to CEO Satya Nadella’s vision to ensure the realization of “the public cloud for the public good,” as noted in a blog post. Microsoft Philanthropies aims to donate cloud computing resources to 70,000 non-profits, 900 researchers and over 20 communities in more than 15 countries. In the case of non-profit organizations, Microsoft will donate access to its public cloud, Microsoft Azure, its Enterprise Mobility Suite and CRM online in addition to an expanded roll-out of the Office 365 Nonprofit program. Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to expand access to the Microsoft Azure for Research program which delivers Azure computing resources to help university faculty conduct their research. With respect to the goal of expanding cloud computing access for communities across the world that lack internet connectivity, Microsoft Philanthropies will build on its TV White Spaces project to deliver connectivity for communities in rural Kenya and the Philippines. This three pronged approach on the part of Microsoft Philanthropies to donate cloud computing resources to non-profit organizations, universities and local communities that lack connectivity complements Nadella’s interest in using the public cloud to help governments and NGOs more effectively execute their operational and strategic goals. In his blog post, Nadella cites the implementation of a cloud-based platform for digitizing electronic medical records regarding cataracts in India and the use of cloud-based data to facilitate the disbursement of compensatory payments to earthquake victims in Nepal as examples of the way in which the public cloud can promote the public good. Nadella, here, has hit the nail on the head with respect to the potentialities of the public cloud which, in conjunction with big data technologies, offers limitless opportunities to transform communities and public life, more generally, for the better. The obvious question now is the extent to which Microsoft Philanthropies can identify organizations to seek out its funding to enable the public cloud to contribute to the public good and develop an impressive roster of organizations, researchers and communities that it can showcase as evidence of the power of the public cloud to change the world.

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