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Microsoft will donate $25 million to the disadvantaged from software piracy recoveries, it announced yesterday. This self-appointed Mother Teresa of the IT world will dish out an extra $5 million a year for the next five years to spur technology access for underprivileged communities. The increased funding is targeted at non-profit organisations worldwide, as well as certain academic institutions. The donations will amount to half the cash gained from its anti-piracy settlements. "As we continue to confront a serious piracy problem, especially on a criminal scale, we think it's appropriate that Microsoft redirect monies recouped from these illegal activities into programmes that will spread the benefits of technology more broadly," one Microsoft saint said. The Giving Campaign was started in the US in 1983. It includes Microsoft's European Scholar Programme which has trained over 6000 unemployed Europeans in technology issues. Orphanages in Malaysia, wrinklies in Dallas, and the physically and mentally challenged in the Philippines have also benefited from the scheme. Microsoft recorded sales of $14 billion and net income of $4 billion for the year ended 30 June 1998. ®

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