Microsoft has created a $1.2m fund to stimulate academic research and bring computers and internet access to every corner of the world.
The Digital Inclusion Programme will focus on research leading to new infrastructures, applications and mobile devices, according to the software giant.
It also seeks to bring communications to regions of the world that currently lack stable network connections, and to adapt current technologies to make them easy to use for consumers with little experience in using technology.
Microsoft will be accepting proposals for research grants between 7 November and 13 January 2006.
The software developer also unveiled a programme called Inspire that aims to increase the cooperation between scientists from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Inspire will fund visits by researchers and lecturers in computer sciences, and create summer school programmes in developing economies teaching basic computer skills.
The programme will also hand out awards for PhD research proposals in the field of computer sciences that will benefit developing nations.