Microsoft is using Blender to generate synthetic 3D models and images of humans that can be used to train AI models. For researchers, having access to high quality free/opensource 3D software has proven to be of great benefit for scientific projects. You can check some of their work here.
To express their support, Microsoft is joining the Blender Foundation’s Development Fund as a Corporate Gold member per July 1st, 2020. Other know companies supporting Blender development are: AMD, Nvidia, Ubisoft, Epic, Intel, and many more.
The Blender Development Fund accepts donations to support activities to provide free and open accessible services for all Blender contributors – including professionals and corporations – on the blender.org websites. Support activities include bug fixing, code reviews, technical documentation and onboarding.