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3/14/2011
11:24 AM
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Microsoft Pledges $2 Million In Japan Quake Aid

Company will donate $250,000 in cash and $1.75 million in free software and services that can be used to reestablish communications.

Microsoft said it is taking a number of steps to help customers and other individuals affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami—including cash and free software and services to those in impacted areas.

"While it may be some time until the full impact has been assessed, Microsoft has activated our disaster response protocol to determine where our support can be of greatest benefit to the community," Microsoft said. "We are also taking a number of steps including ensuring the safety of our employees and their families and assessing all our facilities for any impact."

Microsoft maintains an office in Sendai, which was ground zero for the tsunami that struck the northeast shore of Japan following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck off the country's coast Friday afternoon.

Microsoft said it will donate $250,000 in cash for direct aid to the area, and $1.75 million in software and services designed to help communications efforts and put businesses in the area back on their feet.

The offer includes free incident support for customers whose facilities were impacted by the earthquake or tsunami, and free temporary software licenses for customers, non-profits, and relief agencies.

Microsoft has also established a cloud-based disaster response portal, based on Windows Azure, that government officials and first responders can use to coordinate relief efforts and communicate directly with citizens. It's also letting businesses whose collaboration and communication systems were downed use Exchange Online free for 90 days.

"We hope this will help them resume operations more quickly while their existing systems return to normal," Microsoft said.

The official death toll from the tsunami and quake—the largest on record in Japan and the fifth biggest in the world since 1,900—stood at about 2,800 as of early Monday but was expected to climb much higher. More than 9,500 people are missing from one village alone, authorities said.

Officials in the country are also struggling to limit radiation leaks from several reactors damaged during the temblor.

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