Microsoft bets big on ChatGPT creator OpenAI with new investment

Azure becomes the exclusive cloud provider to OpenAI in return.
Ameya Paleja
Microsoft ChatGPT
Microsoft ChatGPT

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Ending weeks of speculation about possible investment from Microsoft, Open AI has confirmed that the Bill Gates co-founded company has entered into a 'multi-year, multi-billion dollar' agreement to extend its partnership, a press release said. The financial details of the transaction remain under wraps.

With this new investment, OpenAI will look further to independently "develop and research AI that is increasingly safe, useful, and powerful," the press release added. OpenAI's recently unveiled product, ChatGPT, has already made global news for its conversational style of answering people's queries, which is being looked at as a threat to Google's business model.

With the recent round, Microsoft has extended its partnership with OpenAI, which began with a $1 billion investment in 2019 and followed up with another round in 2021. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also said in a recent Reddit that he viewed AI as the next big thing in the tech industry, not Web3 or metaverse.

How Microsoft plans to use AI

As part of the deal, Microsoft will invest further in its cloud-based supercomputing systems that power OpenAI's research and products. In return, Microsoft will remain the sole provider of cloud services for OpenAI and power the latter's research, workloads, and APIs.

Interesting Engineering recently reported that Microsoft also plans to offer ChatGPT as part of its Azure OpenAI services, where users can access the generative AI models at an enterprise scale.

The company has already used Open AI's technology to power Copilot helps coders write better code on GitHub and for Microsoft Designer, a graphic design app. Apart from that, the company is also looking to incorporate ChatGPT results in its Bing search engine and may also incorporate it into its apps such as Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Is OpenAI pursuing profits?

With multiple investments and exclusivity clauses, it appears as though OpenAI is chasing the route most software companies take - dropping values and chasing profits.

Since its inception, OpenAI has already split into a non-profit organization and a for-profit company with the latter tasked with the job to raise capital to conduct the research. After the recent round of investment that grants Microsoft more exclusivity over OpenAI's products, the company reemphasized its commitment to capping its profits and not sacrificing its core beliefs.

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OpenAI stated that it was still building AI for the benefit of society and planned to do so by prioritizing safety. As part of its partnership, Microsoft and OpenAI teams also collaborated to review lessons from its work and use them to build and deploy safe AI systems. The collaboration is also hopeful that their work together will help establish a framework that can be used for deploying their own technologies and the AI industry at large.

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."