The figure wasn’t disclosed, but an insider speaks of $10 billion. In return for the investment, Microsoft gets to integrate OpenAI’s technology into various services.
The announcement doesn’t come as a surprise. Microsoft backed OpenAI with more than $1 billion in 2019 and 2021. Earlier this year, an insider told Bloomberg that the tech giant was considering a multi-year investment of $10 billion (about €9.2 billion). The rumours have since been confirmed.
Microsoft announced a multi-billion euro investment in a written statement. The figure wasn’t disclosed, but Bloomberg speaks of $10 billion. “Developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications”, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.
The tech giant went on to explain what the investment means for Microsoft and OpenAI. First, Microsoft plans to integrate OpenAI’s technology into various consumer and enterprise products. The move was foreshadowed by the recent launch of Azure OpenAI Service, an offering of OpenAI services running on Azure infrastructure.
In addition to Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft may integrate OpenAI’s technology across its portfolio, ranging from Word and Outlook to Power BI and Azure DevOps. The tech giant did not specify nor rule out any planned integrations.
Second, all OpenAI workloads will run on Azure for the duration of the collaboration. This applies to both research projects and commercial products. Finally, Microsoft says it will invest more in the development and deployment of supercomputing for OpenAI’s research.
OpenAI has the world’s attention. The organization was founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman in 2015. OpenAI was initially nonprofit. Musk said he wanted to demonstrate that AI could improve the world without the dangers often associated with the technology.
The nonprofit label was discarded in 2019. Since then, OpenAI has been allowed to take growth funding from corporate investors. In the same year, Microsoft backed the organization with $1 billion.
OpenAI uses Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to train AI models. One of the most well-known examples is ChatGPT. This model has been available as a free web version since late 2022. Users visit the website, ask questions and receive credible texts or code.
OpenAI’s past few months have been earmarked by commercialization. Recently, the organization unveiled a waiting list for a paid version of ChatGPT. In October 2022, Shutterstock presented a paid service based on DALL-E, another model developed by OpenAI.
Large companies and investors have high hopes for the organization. According to insiders, OpenAI recently told investors that it expects $1 billion in annual revenue by 2024.