After a tightly contained and formally-staged tech briefing, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates launched the warm and fuzzy Unlimited Potential community initiative with the Prime Minister John Howard earlier today.
Partnering with a number of Australian charities including the Smith Family, Microsoft has made available more than $40 million over five years to build a network of community technology learning centres across Australia.
The initiative is aimed at bridging the "digital divide" by providing computer access to the disadvantaged and isolated and indigenous communities. More than 100 of these centres will be operational by 2005 with the Prime Minister heaping praise on Microsoft for its level of investment in Australia.
Non-profit charity organizations in Australia have received more than $35 million in cash, software and support over the past five years.
This is in addition Microsoft's $10 million investment in three technology centres in Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.
Microsoft has a .Net cluster in Victoria and for the past five years has provided more than $21.8 million in direct funding to four universities, Monash University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Melbourne.