Microsoft published a blog on Monday, saying it is again investing in OpenAI in a “multibillion-dollar” deal as part of an expanded partnership. According to sources, the tech giant is investing $10 billion in this ChatGPT maker. This investment will lead to broader uses of the technology of OpenAI, as well as more robust behind-the-scenes support.
“Today, we are announcing the third phase of our long-term partnership with OpenAI through a multiyear, multibillion dollar investment to accelerate AI breakthroughs to ensure these benefits are broadly shared with the world,” Microsoft said in its official statement.
While these two companies are short on specifics, the tech giant also added that people could expect “new categories of digital experiences” that include both consumer-facing and business products. The developer-focused Azure OpenAI Service will play a role.
This continued partnership will also see Microsoft further boost its investments in supercomputers that accelerate the research of OpenAI. Azure will stay as OpenAI’s sole cloud provider for products, services, and research. The investment will span “multiple years.”
Further details about the investment
Here is an expounded take on this investment. The first is on supercomputing at scale. Microsoft’s blog said it would increase its investments in developing and deploying specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate the groundbreaking independent AI research of OpenAI. Moreover, the tech company added it would also continue to build out the leading AI infrastructure of Azure to help customers build and deploy their AI applications on a worldwide scale.
The second is on new AI-powered experiences. Microsoft said it would deploy OpenAI’s models across its consumer and enterprise goods and introduce new categories of digital experiences built on the technology of OpenAI. It constitutes Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, which empowers developers to build cutting-edge AI applications via direct access to OpenAI models backed by the trusted, enterprise-grade capabilities, and AI-optimized infrastructure and tools of Azure.
Third, Microsoft stated Azure would power all OpenAI workloads across products, research, and API services, as the exclusive cloud provider of OpenAI.
Microsoft first supported OpenAI in 2019, then returned in 2021. The New York Times noted that it “quietly” invested $2 billion more since that initial round. The companies have become even closer since their tie-up started. On top of the Azure service, the tech giant has also launched OpenAI-powered features, including a DALL-E 2 graphic design tool and natural language programming. OpenAI utilizes Microsoft’s infrastructure to train its most renowned systems, including DALL-E 2 and the popular ChatGPT bot. ChatGPT is reportedly coming to Azure very soon.
However, Microsoft did not mention some rumored developments, such as building ChatGPT into Bing. Yet, this expansion may help the tech company gain a competitive advantage. Google sees ChatGPT as a threat to its search business, and is believed to be spending much of its time and attention on a search chatbot and other AI products in spite of a reluctance to embrace the technology over copyright concerns completely. Experts are saying that even if this strengthened partnership does not enhance Bing, Microsoft might benefit by forcing rivals like Google to change their ways.