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Microsoft disguises exclusive Azure deal as $1bn OpenAI investment

Microsoft has announced a $1bn investment into OpenAI, the non-profit AI research project that counts Elon Musk among its founders, and signed a completely totally separate honest-to-goodness “exclusive computing partnership” that will see Microsoft become the sole provider of computing resources for OpenAI. But because OpenAI is a non-profit, Microsoft can’t really just give the firm $1 billion, and so, the investment looks like a somewhat roundabout way to pay for the Azure instances that OpenAI is going to be using. There’s still an element of philanthropy here, but Microsoft wants to get in at the forefront of this AI research, which should have some beneficial effect on the combined Azure platform – which now represents around a third of…

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