Today, Microsoft announced it is entering into the third phase of its partnership with artificial intelligence firm OpenAI, following investments in 2019 and 2021.
With this ‘multiyear, multibillion dollar investment’, Microsoft seeks to accelerate research and innovations in AI supercomputing.
“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,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer at Microsoft.
This announcement comes weeks after news site Semafor reported that Microsoft was in negotiations to invest US$10 billion in OpenAI, which would bring the value of the AI firm to US$29 billion.
OpenAI, the force behind popular chatbot, ChatGPT, remains a ‘capped profit company‘, which means that returns from investments are capped past a certain point. According to Microsoft, this structure allows it to raise capital while democratizing access to AI and delivering on safety and ethics.
The two companies regularly collaborate to share and sync their lessons regarding the deployment of safe AI, and update their systems, research and practices accordingly, Open AI says.
Microsoft said it will increase its investments in the supercomputing systems, powered by Azure and built in collaboration with OpenAI, to support research and enable customers to develop and deploy AI applications at a global scale.
Microsoft and OpenAI were responsible for building one of the top five publicly disclosed supercomputers in the world in 2020, and subsequently constructing multiple AI supercomputing systems at massive scale. OpenAI has used this infrastructure to train its models, which are now deployed in Azure to power AI products like GitHub Copilot, DALL·E 2 and ChatGPT.
Azure will remain the exclusive cloud provider for all OpenAI workloads across research, API, and products.
Microsoft will also introduce new digital experiences built on OpenAI to consumer and enterprise products, including Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service, which allows developers to build AI applications through direct access to OpenAI models backed by Azure infrastructure and tools.