With all the stories of tax-dodging and data breaches, it’s rare to hear anything positive about the world’s biggest companies in the media these days. Microsoft appears to be doing its best to restore the balance, however.

The Redmond firm recently announced plans to put its epic cloud computing power to worthy use, and promised to deliver a bumper $1 billion-worth of resources to organisations seen to be working for the “public good”.

70,000 non-profits and 900 universities to benefit

The resources will be delivered through Microsoft’s Philanthropies programme, going to 70,000 non-profits and 900 universities over the next three years, CEO Satya Nadella confirmed. The idea of the move is – according to Microsoft – to make data more easily accessible, and to provide levels of computing power that would ordinarily be financially unattainable for smaller organisations.

Nadella, who’s been steering the Microsoft ship since taking over from Steve Ballmer in 2014, said of the decision: “Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organisations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services – the most transformative technologies of our generation.

“Now more than 70,000 organisations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.”

The offer isn’t of financial help or tangible products as such, but instead access to a range of Microsoft services for which a typical business would pay considerable amounts of money. This newfound power can then be used by the beneficiaries to store and process the huge amounts data they already have.

In a blog on Microsoft’s site, company president Brad Smith elaborated on the initiative, saying the three main goals would be to “serve the broad needs of the non-profit community, expand access to cloud resources for faculty research in universities, and reach new communities with last-mile connectivity and cloud services.”