Microsoft to Donate $1 Billion in Cloud Services to Nonprofits and Researchers

Microsoft plans to give away $1 billion in cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years, as the company updates its philanthropic initiatives to reflect shifts in technology.

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The company’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, intends to announce the company’s commitment Tuesday evening in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, the annual meeting of business and political leaders. The plan is intended to make it easier for nonprofits and researchers to gain access to the same cloud computing tools that have enabled business to become more nimble and tackle big technical challenges.

Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, said other organizations outside the corporate sector have been slower to adopt cloud services. “It’s important that we enable the nonprofit community to make the transition to the cloud services era,” he said in an interview.

Microsoft’s cloud services include Azure, which allows organizations to host their own websites and online applications in Microsoft’s data centers, as well as Power BI, Dynamics CRM Online and other Microsoft-made applications for running organizations. CRM Online, for instance, is a customer relationship management service that can be useful for nonprofits in accepting financial contributions from individual donors.

Microsoft has been giving away traditional software for years. Mr. Smith estimates the value of those software donations at about $750 million a year and said that they will continue even as Microsoft gives away cloud services.

Microsoft hopes to give away its cloud services to 70,000 nonprofits in the next three years. The company plans to expand by 50 percent an existing program that donates Azure storage and computing resources to university projects. The company will also invest in low-cost Internet access technologies in developing countries.

Philanthropic giveaways from technology companies are sometimes viewed by critics as thinly veiled efforts to make money even if they’re not making direct sales to the recipients of the donations.Facebook‘s effort to provide free Internet access to the developing world through its Internet.org initiative has come under attack fromnet neutrality activists in India who see it as a way of promoting Facebook services to the detriment of those from rival companies.

Microsoft says it will not take a tax deduction for the donated cloud services.

Mr. Smith said that Microsoft decided against creating an independent foundation for its philanthropic efforts because it believed the effort would have more impact if it was part of the company.

“Our philosophy is that philanthropy, at its best, often combines doing well with doing good,” he said. “One of the defining characteristics of Microsoft in 2016 is the degree to which we’re a mission-driven company. We rely most fundamentally on products and the market to fulfill that mission.”

India’s public cloud services to touch $730 million in 2015: report

Public cloud services revenue poised to reach $731 million due to key demand segments like IaaS, SaaS and cloud security services

Public cloud services revenue in India set to reach $731 Million by the end of 2015 (Source: Wikipedia)

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Public cloud services revenue in India is forecast to touch USD 731 million by the end of 2015, growing more than 31 per cent over last year, research firm Gartner said.

High rates of spending on cloud services in India to continue through 2019 when the market is expected to reach USD 1.9 billion, Gartner said in a statement.

The revenues, which stood at USD 555 million in 2014, are expected to be driven by high growth rates in key market segments like cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), cloud management and security services and software as a service (SaaS), it added.

Gartner forecast spending on IaaS to total USD 100 million in 2015, an increase of 25 percent over last year.

Spending on cloud management/security will grow 36.6 per cent to USD 82 million, and SaaS will grow 33.4 per cent to USD 302 million this year, Gartner added.

“The forecast for cloud services vary based on local factors, including supply and demand within the local markets, country-specific economic conditions, currency exchange rates, and other global market factors,” Gartner Research Director Sid Nag said.

The explosive growth of IaaS and SaaS in the India market is an indication that enterprises in India are moving away from building their own on premises infrastructure, as well as migrating from the traditional software licensing model, to a SaaS model served up by cloud providers, Nag added.

By: PTI | Updated: October 26, 2015