Microsoft Azure invests $1bn in OpenAI

The story of the electronics giants competing for market space took another twist this week as Microsoft’s cloud computing arm, Azure, decided to invest $1bn (£802.25m) into OpenAI, the artificial intelligence (AI) company, based in San Francisco. This heralds a big development for cloud tech as it can be advanced by AI capabilities, as well as machine learning. The more intertwined some of these facets are, it will offer businesses greater tech scope in the long run.

Part of the pair’s aim during this multi-year partnership is to enhance Azure’s AI technology on their cloud platform. This would, in theory, make it easier for their customers to work with improved technology like this further down the line. Key aspects of OpenAI work include using software to teach robots how to perform specific tasks, including robotic hands, performing mechanisms that can reduce resource costs and cut wasted labour.

One concern often shared about AI is not ensuring that everyone can benefit from its potential, with a statement from the company saying it wanted to use the Microsoft investment to make sure AI was “deployed safely and securely.” It also remarked on finding ways to make sure “its economic benefits are widely distributed.”

Many OpenAI services will move onto Microsoft Azure as part of the deal, although this will not include everything at first. The company confirmed it would be making Microsoft its 'preferred' partner for future cooperation, while not limiting itself about development opportunities.