Microsoft’s Software Donation Policy

By Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director, Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft

From time to time, we see stories about Microsoft contributing to nonprofit organizations that have views on public policy issues that are different than the company’s position.  These types of stories naturally raise questions, so I wanted to take a moment to explain why this crops up every now and then.

It boils down to a very simple explanation. Microsoft has a global nonprofit software donation program that provides donated software licenses to eligible nonprofit organizations upon request.  We recognize the important role that nonprofit organizations of all stripes play in society and we also recognize that nonprofit organizations often have limited resources, so we made the decision a number of years ago to make it easy and convenient for eligible nonprofits to receive donated licenses to our software products.

In Fiscal Year 2011, Microsoft donated $844 million in software to 44,000 nonprofits around the world. We don’t pick and choose which nonprofits receive donated software licenses.  This is a broad program designed to make technology available to the nonprofit community so we basically provide donated software licenses to eligible nonprofit organizations upon request.  To keep it simple our eligibility guidelines track to the same ones that the US government and governments around the world use in deciding who is a nonprofit.

Recently, one of our software donations has appeared in the news, and has raised questions about Microsoft’s position on climate change.  The amounts referenced in recent coverage reflect the retail value of software licenses provided to this eligible non-profit under the terms of our global nonprofit software donation program outlined above.

Our position on climate change is unchanged -- we believe climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions to reduce our own impact as well as the impact of our products, which are used around the world.  In addition, Microsoft has adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to create market-based mechanisms to address climate change.

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