Microsoft deepened a partnership with OpenAI, the maker of popular AI offering ChatGPT, making a multibillion-dollar investment in the company `that represents the software giant’s biggest bet yet on the technology.
In a blog, Microsoft said the investment in OpenAI follows previous backing for the company in 2019, when it invested $1 billion, and another undisclosed funding move in 2021.
While the amount this time round was not revealed officially, various news outlets report Microsoft will plough around $10 billion into OpenAI, significantly ramping its interests in the AI specialist following a three year partnership.
Microsoft will make its investment over multiple years, deploying OpenAI’s models across its consumer and enterprise products, which includes its suite of Office software and the Bing search engine.
As a result of deeper ties with OpenAI, Microsoft said it will also increase investment in development and deployment of specialised supercomputing systems to accelerate AI independent research.
Microsoft’s Azure will now become OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, powering all of its workloads across research, products and API services.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said it initially partnered with OpenAI because of a shared ambition to responsibility advance AI and democratise the technology.
“In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organisations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models and tool-chain with Azure to build and run their applications.”
Interest in OpenAI skyrocketed in recent months after chatbot ChatGPT became an internet sensation following its launch in November 2022, attracting around 1 million users in its first week.
The platform is considered to be at the forefront of “generative AI”, due to its ability to create high-quality content from simple text prompts.
Richard Windsor, founder of research company Radio Free Mobile, believes the investment is likely to benefit Microsoft in a number of ways, highlighting the fact OpenAI will not be available on AWS or Google Cloud as a major boost to its Azure cloud business.
He added it allows Microsoft to improve products including Office through AI, however has questions over ChatGPT.
“I do not expect to see ChatGPT embedded in Office as I don’t think that it is either trustworthy or safe, meaning that it fails Microsoft’s own standards for AI products that it creates.”