We have all been shocked and saddened by the images and reports coming from Japan.

It is a human tragedy on a massive scale.

To help support ongoing relief efforts, Microsoft is making an initial commitment of $2 million, which includes $250,000 in cash as well as in-kind contributions such as software.

We already have a range of support efforts underway including:

1. Activating our Disaster Response protocol and team - a dedicated group that mobilizes our company during crises such as this - who is leading outreach to customers, partners, the local government, and relief agencies.

2. Providing customers and partners impacted by the earthquake with free incident support to help get their operations back up and running.

3. Providing free temporary software licenses to all impacted customers and partners as well as lead governments, nonprofit partners and institutions involved in disaster response efforts.

4. Making a cloud-based disaster response communications portal, based on Windows Azure, available to governments and nonprofits to enable them to communicate between agencies and directly with citizens.

5. Issuing an appeal to our employees to support the relief organizations working in Japan – we match our US based employees donations dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $12,000 per employee per year.

6. Helping to drive awareness and donations for relief efforts through our Disaster Response website, MSN and Bing.com.

7. Committing to support the immediate relief and rescue efforts in Japan, working with our nonprofit partners to provide the necessary support.

There are many opportunities to help. We invite you to consider supporting any of the following relief organizations in the work they are doing to help the people in Japan:

• The American Red Cross is accepting donations for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief. Individuals can also text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 from their mobile phone.

• Save the Children is responding to the needs of children and families affected by the earthquake and its aftermath. Donations can be made to Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund.

• International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster's victims.

• World Vision has announced mobilization in response to the earthquake and tsunami.

• NetHope, a collaboration of the world’s leading humanitarian response organizations, is mobilizing efforts to support aid agencies responding in the region.

• Mercy Corps is working with its partner Charity Peace Winds Japan to accept donations.

• AidMatrix is working with its partners to connect resources and material for various response efforts. Needs for in-kind and transportation donations are being assessed and will be posted to the AidMatrix network as they become available.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Japan and do what we can to help.

Posted by Akhtar Badshah
Senior Director, Global Community Affairs, Microsoft