OpenAI and Microsoft have announced that they are expanding their current partnership. This comes on the heels of OpenAI’s public release of ChatGPT at the tailend of last year, which has been making waves throughout the industry as people experiment with its capabilities.
Microsoft had previously made large investments in OpenAI in 2019 and 2021, and is OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, meaning that all of OpenAI’s workloads are powered by Azure.
Over the past few years, OpenAI has been able to achieve things like building supercomputers powered by Azure, deploying OpenAI technology through the Azure OpenAI service, and incorporating OpenAI’s technology into GitHub Copilot and Microsoft Designer.
Microsoft stated that it will continue investments in developing supercomputing systems to further OpenAI’s research.
The company will also incorporate OpenAI technology into its products, such as Azure OpenAI Service, which provides developers access to OpenAI models to build AI applications.
Earlier this month, The Information reported that Microsoft was interested in integrating ChatGPT into its search engine Bing. They reported that this could take place as soon as March.
“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,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. “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.”
According to OpenAI, both companies regularly meet to review and share lessons that inform updates to the systems, future research areas, and best practices for the industry.
The companies didn’t reveal specific dollar amounts, but did say Microsoft was making a “multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment.”
OpenAI exists as a capped-profit company, which is a sort of hybrid of for-profit and non-profit companies. “The fundamental idea of OpenAI LP is that investors and employees can get a capped return if we succeed at our mission, which allows us to raise investment capital and attract employees with startup-like equity. But any returns beyond that amount—and if we are successful, we expect to generate orders of magnitude more value than we’d owe to people who invest in or work at OpenAI LP—are owned by the original OpenAI Nonprofit entity,” the company explained in a blog post published at the time they set up this new structure.
According to OpenAI, this setup enables them to raise capital while also sticking to core beliefs about sharing benefits and prioritizing safety.