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Microsoft announces multibillion investment in OpenAI

Business news |
By Rich Pell


Tech giant Microsoft has announced that it has entered into a new multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment with AI research laboratory OpenAI, maker of the ChatGPT AI natural language processing tool. This investment, says the company, is the third phase of its long-term partnership with OpenAI – following previous investments in 2019 and 2021 – to accelerate AI breakthroughs to ensure these benefits are broadly shared with the world.

The agreement extends the company’s ongoing collaboration across AI supercomputing and research and enables both companies to independently commercialize the resulting advanced AI technologies:

  • Supercomputing at scale – Microsoft will increase its investments in the development and deployment of specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate OpenAI’s groundbreaking independent AI research. It will also continue to build out Azure’s leading AI infrastructure to help customers build and deploy their AI applications on a global scale.
  • New AI-powered experiences – Microsoft will deploy OpenAI’s models across its consumer and enterprise products and introduce new categories of digital experiences built on OpenAI’s technology. This includes Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, which empowers developers to build cutting-edge AI applications through direct access to OpenAI models backed by Azure’s trusted, enterprise-grade capabilities and AI-optimized infrastructure and tools.
  • Exclusive cloud provider – As OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, Azure will power all OpenAI workloads across research, products and API services.

“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratize AI as a new technology platform,” says Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications.”

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI adds, “The past three years of our partnership have been great. Microsoft shares our values and we are excited to continue our independent research and work toward creating advanced AI that benefits everyone.”

Through its initial investment and collaboration with OpenAI, says the company, it has pushed the frontier of cloud supercomputing technology, announcing its first top-five supercomputer in 2020, and subsequently constructed multiple AI supercomputing systems at massive scale. OpenAI has used this infrastructure to train its breakthrough models, which are now deployed in Azure to power category-defining AI products like GitHub Copilot, DALL·E 2 and ChatGPT.

Microsoft did not provide a specific dollar amount of its investment. According to previous reports, the company had been in talks to invest $10 billion.

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