Microsoft Makes Multibillion Dollar Investment in OpenAI

Image: Microsoft

OpenAI is the AI research and deployment company behind ChatGPT and DALL·E 2, two AI projects that have gained popularity for allowing users to generate realistic conversations and art, respectively, by simply typing in text. Microsoft announced today that it is extending its partnership with OpenAI with a new multiyear, multibillion dollar investment, something that will go toward accelerating the company’s AI breakthroughs for supercomputing and other projects. This marks the third phase of Microsoft’s long-term partnership with OpenAI, which already include the investments that the Windows maker made in 2019 and 2021.

“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,” said 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.”

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

From a Microsoft blog post:

This agreement follows our previous investments in 2019 and 2021. It extends our ongoing collaboration across AI supercomputing and research and enables each of us to independently commercialize the resulting advanced AI technologies.

  • Supercomputing at scale – Microsoft will increase our investments in the development and deployment of specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate OpenAI’s groundbreaking independent AI research. We 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 our 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.

Since 2016, Microsoft has committed to building Azure into an AI supercomputer for the world, serving as the foundation of our vision to democratize AI as a platform. Through our initial investment and collaboration, Microsoft and OpenAI pushed the frontier of cloud supercomputing technology, announcing our first top-5 supercomputer in 2020, and subsequently constructing 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.

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