18 September 2013

Free Office 365 + Free Software = More To Good Causes

Office 2013 logo Bill Gates is one of the world's top donors to charity (I wish I could afford that!)  so I am not surprised that Microsoft has decided to give nonprofit organizations free licenses of the cloud platform Office 365. But I surely welcome the initiative!

Outlook and SharePoint 2013 Technology for Good
The free Office 365 is part of Microsoft's "Technology for Good" program, and SharePoint, Exchange, Outlook and Excel are among the included programs. Excel 2013Only the cloud platform is free, but the desktop version is Exchange 2013licensed to nonprofits at less than a quarter of the normal price.

Who is eligible?
Microsoft donates Office 365 to organizations that are recognized as charitable in their respective countries. They must also operate on a not-for-profit basis and have a mission to benefit the local community. Educational institutions are not eligible, but schools and students are offered discounts on the Office 365 subscription fees.

The program is available in 41 countries, and Microsoft says it will be extended to 90 countries all over the world  by July 2014.

HelpDesk OSP icon Free applications
I have actually done – and am still doing – something similar. When I begun buildning my company, I offered free licenses toKanban Task Manager icon schools and charities, and the feedback I got from these customers during the early days were valuable to the continued development of my Outlook add-ons.

Calendar Browser icon Eventually, as the products were improved and word about them spread, the demand for my free applications became overwhelming. Buiness Solutions certainly don't have the same administration capacity as Microsoft!Folder HelpDesk icon

Second application still free
We had to stop donating our products, but. instead we are giving schools and charities a 50 % discount on the subscription fees for the first Outlook or SharePoint solution they are using. TimeCard icon

For Premium subscribers the second solution is still free, just as the third one, and we give full support and free upgrades also for the free product(s). This offer is valid for Premium Members of the Community, not only for the schools and charities, but those organizations can get extra good value for money by combining the 50 % discount and the free products offer.
Community icon
Now the nonprofit Community Members can use Office 365 for free too. As they are already using discounted and free solutions only small parts of their budgets must go to software licenses – which means more money to charity. It feels good helping others do good!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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