Last Monday, July 22, Microsoft announced an exclusive partnership with OpenAI, investing $1 billion in the partnership themselves.
What does this mean?
This means that Azure has now secured a major new AI customer to host on their existing IaaS instance types and Brainwave FPGA-based AI services. Additionally, OpenAI is an AI customer that is willing to invest its expertise and learning in improving Azure while it continues to improve its own products.
Why should we care?
Microsoft is attempting to leapfrog its deep learning, machine learning, and AI cloud competition and leverage OpenAI to get to AGI head of the competition.
Insights/comments on the subject from Liftr:
It’s clear that OpenAI wants a time-to-market advantage in accelerating its AI software frameworks to become the AGI software development platform of choice. It also might have a chance to gain access to some very interesting Azure US government cloud computing contracts through Microsoft. In connection, Microsoft open sourced its native Cognitive Toolkit, otherwise known as CNTK, in 2016, but it did not get traction amid a very competitive deep learning field, includingGoogle’s TensorFlow, Baidu’s Paddle Paddle, andFacebook’s Caffe, which is now rolled intoPyTorch). So, we can assume that CNTK is history and OpenAI is Microsoft’s future. Microsoft is hoping that innovations developed with OpenAi will accelerate Azure hardware and software differentiation and make it a top choice for other AI researchers and framework developers.