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Microsoft announced a multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI to help develop ChatGPT and other AI.

Published: 2023-01-23

Microsoft said it is expanding its long-term partnership with OpenAI with a new "multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment," confirming rumors that surfaced a few weeks ago of an upcoming $10 billion investment. OpenAI, we recall, is the creator of popular artificial intelligence systems such as the ChatGPT chat bot and the DALL-E 2 image generator.

Microsoft acquired an exclusive license to the underlying technology behind the GPT-3 AI model back in 2020 after investing $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019. Microsoft has developed a close relationship with OpenAI and plans to add OpenAI's DALL-E 2-based image-by-text description engine to its Bing search engine. Microsoft does not disclose the total amount of funds planned to be invested in OpenAI.

The deal will allow Microsoft to increase its investment in the development and deployment of supercomputing systems to support OpenAI research. Microsoft becomes the exclusive cloud partner of OpenAI, and Microsoft cloud services will support all OpenAI workloads across products, API services, and research. The software giant also plans to deploy OpenAI models in various consumer and enterprise products. Microsoft is rumored to be preparing to challenge Google with ChatGPT's Bing integration, and the company is reportedly considering integrating some AI language technologies into its Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook applications.

Microsoft began rolling out a cloud service for OpenAI last week, essentially merging a range of AI models built by OpenAI, including GPT 3.5, Codex, and DALL-E, with the scalability of its Azure cloud service and other data management and processing add-ons.

“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a common commitment to responsibly promote cutting-edge research and democratize artificial intelligence as a new technology platform,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “In the next phase of our partnership, developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolset with Azure to build and run their applications.”

Rumors about this deal suggested that Microsoft could receive 75 percent of OpenAI's profits until it returns its investment plus 49 percent of OpenAI shares. OpenAI says it remains a profit-limited company following this deal, allowing it to continue raising capital through checks and balances.

“The last three years of our partnership have been great,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. "Microsoft shares our values, and we're excited to continue our independent research and work to create cutting-edge AI that benefits everyone."