Microsoft Invested Billions In OpenAI Because It Was Worried About Falling Behind Google: What We Know

OpenAI has catapulted Microsoft’s position in the AI race much higher than Google and new details reveal it was not sure if that was possible.

Microsoft has invested billions into its big AI project which includes the reported $10 billion funding into OpenAI. We never understood its strategy and the reason for its heavy lifting in the AI arena. But latest reports give us a very good idea about its plans and how Microsoft was very worried about Google’s AI efforts and how it could be left behind in the AI race without these investments.

The internal email titled Thoughts on OpenAI on June 12, 2019 was shared between Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, his CTO Kevin Scott and Bill Gates, as per the report here. The letter points out Microsoft’s worry about being slow with its focus in terms of machine learning scale.

Initially, Scott was eager to see where the AI evolution goes and how quickly but soon he started to get worried about the work done by OpenAI and Google DeepMind division. The Microsoft CTO was impressed with the demo videos of Google DeepMind AlphaGo showing its worth and capability.

Google had a clear advantage over Microsoft with its renewed AI focus a few years ago. But fast-forward to 2022, and you can see the tide shifting in the favour of Satya Nadella and Co. Its reported investment in OpenAI has catapulted its growth, enabling products like Bing, Edge and Copilot have a slight edge over Google’s Gemini AI that is now available in Gmail, Docs, Android and more.

The OpenAI partnership has gone through regulator probes, wherein Microsoft was allegedly running the operations of the Sam Altman-run company. We still don’t know who or how the OpenAI partnership came to fruition.

Bill Gates seemingly had a role in making the deal happen but the bigger challenge for Nadella would have been to get Microsoft and its shareholders to sanction over $10 billion into the AI company. So, the company has gone from being worried about Google’s plans to take a clear lead in the race and has a lot more to offer in the near future.

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