Recently, Microsoft has announced information that they had planned to donate 1 billion USD from cloud services within three years to organizations and non-governmental researchers, in an effort to provide access to services to the community that they cannot afford. The value donated by Microsoft was calculated according to the market value. This can also be seen as a move bringing in long-term business benefits, as it will help the company to win over a number of long-term potential users for their cloud platform.
One of the questions asked at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is how to make the benefits of cloud computing technology available and more disseminated to the community, compared with the fact that today only rich societies can access the data, intelligence, analysis and insight from cloud computing.
Microsoft’s CEO, Mr. Satya Nadella wrote in a blog post “the company will provide access to public cloud service like Microsoft Azure for nonprofit organizations as well as organizations running in the field of charity.”
Microsoft Philanthropies, which was founded not long ago, will operate without profit, with a full set of Microsoft cloud service, including Microsoft Azure. Hence, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can run applications, use calculations and store electrical energy as well as CRM Online to manage relationships with donors and beneficiaries, and Suite Enterprise Mobility to manage all their devices, applications and data.
Microsoft aims to serve for 70 000 non-governmental organizations through one or more of their cloud services in late 2017 and will focus on serving more groups after each year, President and Legal Director, Brad Smith wrote in a blog post that only in 2016, the company expected to raise nearly $ 350 million nonprofit cloud services.
Another branch of the program is to expand up to 50 % of current funding for the research program of Microsoft Azure, which has provided cloud computing resources free of charge to more than 600 research projects globally so far. Microsoft is also planning to donate cloud service combined with the final connection to the disadvantaged communities worldwide. The company is focusing on the use of TV whitespace, which contains the unused portion of the wireless spectrum usually used for television. Microsoft has developed their cloud services worldwide, including the establishment of data centers in some countries in order to meet the requests from regions for local data storage.
However, the charity efforts of this technology company are in doubt, since they are considered as a secret promotion for business agenda. Facebook’s Free Basics, a program providing Internet services including Facebook for users without data charges, has been criticized in India as a way to promote this social networking platform. Microsoft’s program using the TV whitespace for connectivity has also been criticized by the mobile industry of India, when they claim that it should be auctioned off rather than being free.