Microsoft ‘Donates’ Office 365 To Non-Profits

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Companies focused on doing good can get a free version of the cloud-based productivity suite

Microsoft will offer free Office 365 licenses to non-profits and non-government organisations (NGOs) around the world.

The company will also market a heavily-discounted version of its cloud-based productivity suite, which includes additional tools such as Yammer and Excel, to the same crowd.

In 2012, Microsoft already made the ‘A2’ package of Office 365 for Education free to students, faculty and academic staff.

Do more good

Office 365 was launched in 2011 as Microsoft’s attempt to take on the likes of Google Apps, which has also been gaining a significant following in enterprise.

From today, qualifying organisations get a choice of two new Office 365 packages. The first is the free ‘E1’, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Lync, all available through a browser window, along with complete phone support.

charity donate keuboard money © arka38 ShutterstockThe second – ‘E3’- will cost $4.50 per month and include desktop versions of all applications, as well as more advanced Excel, Acess, Visio, Yammer and InfoPath.

To apply, an organisation has to sign up for an Office 365 trial and prove its charitable status.

In a survey conducted by TechSoup Global, a tech charity which manages the giveaway, 79 percent of non-profits said cloud computing allows easier IT administration, and 62 percent said it helps cut costs. Microsoft adds that Office 365 enables organisations to work from anywhere and collaborate more effectively using email, calendar and document sharing, and video conferencing.

“Non-profits operate in the same way as any other organisation or business, however many lack the resources to implement the latest technology. The donation of Office 365 allows them to be more effective and efficient in the work they do,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, president at Microsoft International.

The company has a long history of charitable work. In 2013 alone, it donated $795 million (£505m) in cash, software and services to 70,286 non-profits. The new offer is available in 41 countries today, and Microsoft plans to expand it to 90 countries by July 2014.

“We see Office 365 as an important enabler for our strategy of ensuring all staff can easily and reliably access not only email but also collaboration tools wherever they may be. Crucially, this ubiquity will enable us to collaborate more effectively with partners around the world, helping us towards our ultimate goal of ending poverty,” commented Phill Humphries, head of ICT for Christian Aid.

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Office 365 apps on Android and iOS, available for free to existing subscribers.

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