Microsoft invests billions more dollars in OpenAI, extends partnership

Microsoft today announced that it’s extending its partnership with OpenAI, the startup behind art- and text-generating AI systems like ChatGPT, DALL-E 2 and GPT-3, with a “multi-year, multi-billion-dollar” investment. OpenAI says the infusion of new capital — the exact amount of which wasn’t disclosed — will be used to continue its research and “develop AI that is increasingly safe, useful and powerful.”

OpenAI will remain a capped-profit company as a part of the deal. Under the model, backers’ returns are limited to 100 times their investment — or possibly less in the future.

In a blog post, Microsoft said that it will increase its investments in the development and deployment of specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate OpenAI’s AI research and deploy OpenAI’s AI systems across its consumer and enterprise products while “introducing new categories of digital experiences built on OpenAI’s technology.” The tech giant’s Azure cloud platform will continue to be OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, powering all of the startup’s workloads across research, products and API services.

“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratize AI as a new technology platform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “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.”

Sources previously reported that Microsoft was looking to net a 49% stake in OpenAI, valuing the company at around $29 billion. Under the terms of one rumored arrangement detailed by Semafor, Microsoft would receive three-quarters of OpenAI’s profits until it recovers its investment, with additional investors taking 49% and OpenAI retaining the remaining 2% in equity.

“The past three years of our partnership have been great,”OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said in a press release. “Microsoft shares our values and we are excited to continue our independent research and work toward creating advanced AI that benefits everyone.”

Microsoft invests billions more dollars in OpenAI, extends partnership by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

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