back to article Microsoft throttles on-prem tech donation scheme for nonprofits

Big-hearted Microsoft has confirmed pending changes that will make it easier for charities to use its cloud services but will hike prices for anyone daring to use its on-premises wares. Charities – for their sins – got used to having copies of software donated by the Seattle-based corp. For an "administration fee", charities …

  1. SVV Silver badge

    Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

    What a great PR move by Microsoft! So, the impression they're trying to give here is either that they are so desperate for cash right now that they've decided to start extracting it from charities, or they're conplete and utter bastards. Not a great look either way : perhaps they would like to enlighten us further on the true reasons behind this decision?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

      > perhaps they would like to enlighten us further on the true reasons behind this decision?

      The Cloud™

      1. Erik4872

        Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

        "The Cloud™"

        This is the answer. Microsoft is so obviously done with supporting fixed-feature on-premises products. The only reason they don't come out and say they're dumping boxed products is because the installed base is still quite large. Even Office 2019 is now click-to-run only and won't run on non-Windows 10 machines...you know, "cloud cadence" and all...

        Like all software companies, Microsoft is now addicted to monthly revenues and will never go back to selling you one-time-purchase products unless forced. It makes sense that they're forcing charities this way as well because they can write off that portion of running Azure/O365 as a donation rather than just the list price of the software.

        On the commercial side, they're making it harder and harder to access product downloads in MSDN/VS subscriptions as well, probably hoping people will forget about it and click the "spin up an Azure solution" button instead.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

          In some respects, this decision is consistent with MS's decision a few years back discontinuing the SMB Server offering.

          The NFPs that qualify/benefit the most from the MS donations are in the sub circa 25 user bracket, ie. NFP equivalent to those SMB's who benefited from SMB Server. So it would seem that at one level this is simply a tidying up of licencing. At another, it reduces the MS donation to a similar level of tokenism as other tt-exchange.org (UK representative of TechSoup) partners.

          What is interesting is seeing MS pursuing the 80:20 rule: pushing large numbers of low-value users into the take-it-or-leave it offering where it hopes to leverage their numbers through advertising etc. to turn these into a reasonably steady revenue stream. However, I've yet to see any real effort being exerted on keeping the 20% of high-value corporate customers who generate most of the profit...

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

      Secretly promoting Linux?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

      "First it giveth then it taketh away"

      No, it just adjusted the ratios of giveth in favour of the cloud. It's still giving charities lots of free and / or cheap stuff. It didn't take anything away that they already had.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

        Are you serious?

        How would you feel if your local council removed fire cover from your street, but collected the bins every day instead?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice charity you got there, shame if your Windows got broken.....

          "How would you feel if your local council removed fire cover from your street, but collected the bins every day instead?"

          An utterly irrelevant analogy. Microsoft dont have to give anything to charity. That they wish to give away free stuff in line with their primary product direction seems entirely reasonable. And if that doesnt suit they still give massive charity discounts on the rest.

  2. Terry 6 Silver badge

    You have to congratulate Microsoft

    Whenever you think they couldn't sink any lower they find a way. Who said ingenuity in IT is dead?

  3. gerritv

    For all the whiners complaining about MS, consider that Apple donates nothing whatsoever to non-profits. So if you are concerned about charities being impacted, check to see if they buy that overpriced,not-fit-for-commercial-use stuff.

    Techsoup has product from many corps, except Apple. And no, Linux is not an option for non-profits who have no IT staff. BTDTGTTS

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So what you're saying is, tough shit?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It takes Microsoft genius to extract bad publicity from giving stuff to charity.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Techsoup has product from many corps, except Apple. And no, Linux is not an option for non-profits who have no IT staff. BTDTGTTS"

      Actually, Linux in the form of Chromebooks, along with cloud accounting, is perfectly possible for non-profits with no IT staff. The administration is quite straightforward.

      I've done it.

  4. RudderLessIT

    LIke everything - it's complex

    Having lead an IT department for an Australian Heart Research organisation, I was there during our (all Australian MRIs) negotiations with MS.

    Couple of points: Some "NFP" have positions such as 'GM of Commercialisation" and other NFPs include organisations such as football organisations (the AFL; NRL etc.) - so not all NFPs are equal.

    The call to cut the NFP pricing was made years ago & it has been ongoing in MS (especially as the person at MS who made the call has left). It has improved from version 1, which was there is no NFP at all.

    Another problem is a lot of medical research in the US has HUGE $$ behind them, unlike in Australia, where our scientists often rely on government funding, yet there is only an 11% success rate in submissions - so this change could have really hurt some places.

    Pushing NFPs to the cloud is a very good thing. Most are already there, but those who are not, generally, have pretty average IT security/Backup/DR capabilities. It also forces their organisation to invest in IT.

    So, it's a bit sh%t and there will be a transition cost for some, but in the long run, the NFPs will be in a better place.

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