India Antitrust Body Denies Google's Allegation it Copied EU's Android Order

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
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India Antitrust Body Denies Google's Allegation it Copied EU's Android Order

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

India's competition regulator on Thursday denied allegations by Google that investigators copied parts of a European order while ruling against the US firm for abusing the market dominance of its Android platform.

"We have not cut, copy and paste," N Venkataraman, a government lawyer representing the Competition Commission of India (CCI), told the top court.

The comments came at a hearing in India's Supreme Court, where Google is seeking to block the CCI ruling, Reuters said.

The body fined Alphabet Inc-owned Google $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in Android, which powers 97% of smartphones in India, and asked it to change restrictions imposed on smartphone makers related to pre-installing apps.

Google had challenged the directive saying it would hurt consumers and also its business, warning the growth of the Android ecosystem will stall if the far-reaching measures were to be implemented.



South Korea, Britain Host AI Summit with Safety Top of Agenda

The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
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South Korea, Britain Host AI Summit with Safety Top of Agenda

The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File

South Korea and Britain kick off a major international summit on artificial intelligence in Seoul this week, where governments plan to press tech firms on AI safety.
The meeting is a follow-up to the inaugural global AI safety summit at Bletchley Park in Britain last year, where dozens of countries voiced their fears to leading AI firms about the risks posed by their tech, AFP said.
Safety is again on the agenda at the AI Seoul Summit starting Tuesday and representatives are expected from leading AI firms, including ChatGPT maker OpenAI, Google DeepMind, French AI firm Mistral, Microsoft and Anthropic.
"As with any new technology, AI brings new risks, including deliberate misuse from those who mean to do us harm," South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday in a joint article.
"However, with new models being released almost every week, we are still learning where these risks may emerge," they said in the piece, published by the South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo and Britain's i newspaper.
The stratospheric success of ChatGPT soon after its 2022 release sparked a gold rush in generative AI, with tech firms around the world pouring billions of dollars into developing their own models.
Generative AI models can generate text, photos, audio and even video from simple prompts, and its proponents have heralded them as a breakthrough that will improve lives and businesses around the world.
But critics, rights activists and governments have warned that they can be misused in a wide variety of situations, including the manipulation of voters through fake news stories or so-called "deepfake" pictures and videos of politicians.
- Dramatic changes -
Many have called for international standards to govern the development and use of AI.
"When we meet with companies at the AI Seoul Summit, we will ask them to do more to show how they assess and respond to risk within their organizations," Yoon and Sunak wrote.
"We will also take the next steps on shaping the global standards that will avoid a race to the bottom."

The Seoul summit comes days after OpenAI confirmed that it had disbanded a team devoted to mitigating the long-term dangers of advanced AI.
The two-day summit will be partly virtual, with a mix of closed-door sessions and some open to the public in Seoul.
However, a group of six South Korean civil society organizations, including the prominent Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, criticized the summit's organizers for not including more developing nations.
"It would be beneficial to discuss international norms for AI in a more open forum where all countries and diverse stakeholders from around the world can participate equally, rather than in an elite club of a few developed countries," they said in a joint statement on Monday.
In addition to safety, the summit will discuss how governments can help spur innovation, including into AI research at universities.
Participants will also consider ways to ensure the technology is open to all and can aid in tackling issues such as climate change and poverty.
"It is just six months since world leaders met at Bletchley, but even in this short space of time, the landscape of AI has changed dramatically," Yoon and Sunak said.
"The pace of change will only continue to accelerate, so our work must accelerate too."
France will host the next AI safety summit.


A Former OpenAI Leader Says Safety Has 'Taken a Backseat to Shiny Products' at the AI Company

 OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.
OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.
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A Former OpenAI Leader Says Safety Has 'Taken a Backseat to Shiny Products' at the AI Company

 OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.
OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.

A former OpenAI leader who resigned from the company earlier this week said that safety has “taken a backseat to shiny products” at the influential artificial intelligence company.

Jan Leike, who ran OpenAI's “Superalignment” team alongside a company co-founder who also resigned this week, wrote in a series of posts on the social media platform X that he joined the San Francisco-based company because he thought it would be the best place to do AI research.

“However, I have been disagreeing with OpenAI leadership about the company’s core priorities for quite some time, until we finally reached a breaking point,” wrote Leike, whose last day was Thursday, The AP reported.

An AI researcher by training, Leike said he believes there should be more focus on preparing for the next generation of AI models, including on things like safety and analyzing the societal impacts of such technologies. He said building “smarter-than-human machines is an inherently dangerous endeavor” and that the company “is shouldering an enormous responsibility on behalf of all of humanity.”

“OpenAI must become a safety-first AGI company,” wrote Leike, using the abbreviated version of artificial general intelligence, a futuristic vision of machines that are as broadly smart as humans or at least can do many things as well as people can.

Open AI CEO Sam Altman wrote in a reply to Leike's posts that he was “super appreciative” of Leike's contributions to the company was “very sad to see him leave.”

Leike is "right we have a lot more to do; we are committed to doing it,” Altman said, pledging to write a longer post on the subject in the coming days.

The company also confirmed Friday that it had disbanded Leike's Superalignment team, which was launched last year to focus on AI risks, and is integrating the team's members across its research efforts.

Leike’s resignation came after OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever said Tuesday that he was leaving the company after nearly a decade. Sutskever was one of four board members last fall who voted to push out Altman — only to quickly reinstate him. It was Sutskever who told Altman last November that he was being fired, but he later said he regretted doing so.

Sutskever said he is working on a new project that's meaningful to him without offering additional details. He will be replaced by Jakub Pachocki as chief scientist. Altman called Pachocki “also easily one of the greatest minds of our generation” and said he is “very confident he will lead us to make rapid and safe progress towards our mission of ensuring that AGI benefits everyone.”


Elon Musk Launches Starlink Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)
Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)
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Elon Musk Launches Starlink Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)
Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)

Elon Musk traveled to Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday to launch Starlink satellite internet service in the world’s largest archipelago nation.

Wearing a green Batik shirt, Musk was greeted with a garland of flower petals at a community health clinic in Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, where he launched the Starlink service alongside Indonesian ministers, The AP reported.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands sprawled across three time zones with a population of more than 270 million, has been trying for years to secure deals with Musk's Tesla on battery investment and for Musk’s SpaceX to provide fast internet for the country’s remote regions.

During the ceremony, Musk took a speed test of the Starlink internet service with several health workers in Indonesia’s remote regions, including in Aru, one of Indonesia’s unserved and outermost islands in Maluku province.

“This can make it really a lifesaver for remote medical clinics, and I think it could be a possibility for education as well,” Musk told reporters.

“If you can access the internet and then you can learn anything and you can also sell your business services worldwide. So, I think it’s going to be incredibly beneficial," he said.

He also signed an agreement on enhancing connectivity in the country’s health and education sectors. Details about the agreement between the Indonesian government and Musk’s SpaceX, the aerospace company that operates Starlink services, were not provided.

Launching the service at a health clinic aligns with Starlink’s broader mission of providing affordable access to high-speed internet services, particularly in underserved and remote regions, said Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

“Our remote regions need Starlink to expand high-speed internet services, especially to help with problems in the health, education and maritime sectors,” Pandjaitan, a close ally of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, told reporters. He held separate talks with Musk on Sunday.

Communication and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi said earlier that local internet providers, which rely on base transceiver stations to transmit signals, are unable to reach outer islands because they have limited coverage. Starlink’s satellites, which remain in low orbit, will help them deliver faster internet with nationwide coverage.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said of the more than 10,000 clinics across the country, there are still around 2,700 without internet access.

“The internet can open up better access to health services as communication between regions is said to be easier, so that reporting from health service facilities can be done in real time or up to date,” he said.

During his first in-person visit to Bali, Musk is also scheduled to participate in the 10th World Water Forum, which seeks to address global water and sanitation challenges.

Musk spoke in 2022 at the B-20 business forum ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies that took place in Bali. He joined the conference by video link weeks after completing his heavily scrutinized takeover of Twitter.

Musk’s visit comes just weeks after Apple CEO Tim Cook met Widodo on April 17 and said the company would “look at” manufacturing in Indonesia. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visited on April 30 and said the company would invest $1.7 billion over the next four years in new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Indonesia.

Indonesia under Widodo has promoted development of the digital technology and information sectors, aiming to achieve the government’s Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision. The country hopes to become one of the world’s top five economies with a GDP of up to $9 trillion, exactly a century after it won independence from Dutch colonizers.


Ineos Drives towards Hydrogen Car Future

An Ineos hydrogen-fuelled Grenadier car is driven on a test track during a 'Roadmap to Decarbonisation' event. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
An Ineos hydrogen-fuelled Grenadier car is driven on a test track during a 'Roadmap to Decarbonisation' event. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
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Ineos Drives towards Hydrogen Car Future

An Ineos hydrogen-fuelled Grenadier car is driven on a test track during a 'Roadmap to Decarbonisation' event. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
An Ineos hydrogen-fuelled Grenadier car is driven on a test track during a 'Roadmap to Decarbonisation' event. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

At a sprawling vehicle test center in the English countryside, a hydrogen-powered Grenadier 4x4 made by Ineos Automotive grips steep and rugged tracks, showcasing its off-road capabilities.
Making the demonstrator car was "a really obvious thing" to do, the company's chief executive Lynn Calder told journalists at the unveiling this week, AFP reported.
The young, fast-expanding company is part of petrochemicals giant and hydrogen producer Ineos, run by British billionaire and Manchester United stakeholder Jim Ratcliffe.
"When we embarked upon the demonstrator project, we saw the opportunity to showcase... that we have a completely uncompromised Grenadier in net zero form," she said at the event called "Road to Decarbonisation".
'Not this decade'
Calder cautioned it would be some time before the car was available to buy amid a limited offering of other hydrogen-powered vehicles that are helping drive a path towards net zero carbon emissions.
Ineos cites the high cost of extracting the Earth's most abundant element and a lack of hydrogen refueling stations, especially in the UK, as obstacles to the development of cars deemed greener than popular electric vehicles (EVs).
Is the car "for tomorrow? No because there isn't infrastructure there", Calder said.
"We will keep it warm, we'll continue to talk about it, we will see it as part of the future but it doesn't feel like it's this decade," she added.
Calder spoke from the UTAC vehicle test center in Millbrook, a village north of London, where the hydrogen-powered vehicle quietly navigated dusty sharp bends and other obstacles.
Hydrogen cars work thanks to the cleanest form of the gas combining with oxygen in a fuel cell to generate electricity. The only waste emitted is water vapor.
Hydrogen-powered buses, cars, trucks and vans are all on the market, made by a small number of companies including Hyundai, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall.
With governments pressuring the auto sector to go green, Ineos Automotive plans to launch an electric 4x4 in 2027, the Fusilier, to be sold alongside current diesel and petrol versions of the Grenadier.
Speaking against the din of sports cars speeding in the distance, Calder hit out at the UK government's goal of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.
'Pipe dream plan'
"I don't think it works, I don't think it's achievable, I think we will fail," she predicted, even after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pushed back the original 2030 date.
The Scottish CEO called it a "pipe dream plan with no strategy around it, no idea how we're going to get there".
Responding, the Department for Transport said a number of incentives were on offer to enable the transition away from polluting vehicles.
It added that demand for EVs was "high", even if recent data shows evidence of slowing sales in the UK and abroad.
Regarding infrastructure, "there are over 61,000 public chargepoints across the UK -- an increase of 44 percent since this time last year", a department spokesperson told AFP.
According to consultants LBST, only 921 hydrogen refueling stations were in operation worldwide at the end of last year.
China was out in front with around 200 stations, or about double the amount in European leader Germany.
The UK currently has just six, even if hydrogen vehicles can offer a longer journey range and are faster at refueling than electric rivals.
Election impact
The country's road to net zero is clouded somewhat by the outcome of this year's general election.
Polls widely suggest that Sunak's Conservatives will lose power to the main opposition Labour Party.
Labour's plans for emissions targets have been called into question after leader Keir Starmer ditched its flagship commitment to spend £28 billion ($35.5 billion) a year on green infrastructure if in power.
Greenpeace UK's senior transport campaigner, Paul Morozzo, called on the next government to reinstate the 2030 ban and increase tax on polluting vehicles.
He added that it must "get on with delivering a proper network of EV charging points all across the country and get the transition to EVs back on the road".
As for hydrogen, with so little infrastructure, the fuel "isn't viable or desirable for mass transit" at the current time, he told AFP.


Reddit Stock Jumps after OpenAI Partnership

Reddit app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (Reuters)
Reddit app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (Reuters)
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Reddit Stock Jumps after OpenAI Partnership

Reddit app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (Reuters)
Reddit app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (Reuters)

Shares of Reddit rose nearly 15% on Friday, following a partnership with artificial intelligence firm OpenAI that is expected to boost advertising income for the social media platform.

The jump pushed the stock up at $64.80, within striking distance of the record closing price of $65.11 hit in late-March, and added $1.38 billion to the company's market value.

The partnership, announced on Thursday, allows Reddit to leverage OpenAI's technology to build tools and features, and OpenAI's ChatGPT platform to integrate Reddit's content in a "real-time, structured" manner. OpenAI will also become an advertising partner for Reddit.

The deal could yield more than $50 million to $60 million annually for Reddit, Piper Sandler lead analyst Thomas Champion said in a note on Friday.

More than half the analysts covering the stock have a "buy" or higher rating, with a median price of $63.

The deal delivers on Reddit's "IPO promise of seizing opportunities to make more of AI," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

The company's shares have gained more than 90% since their debut in March at $34 a piece.

In a February filing, the company indicated its intentions to explore new monetization channels beyond advertising revenue, including offering creator tools and licensing its data to third parties.

Reddit already has data licensing agreements with undisclosed firms that are projected to contribute at least $66.4 million in revenue this year. The license allows third parties to access, search, and analyze data on the platform.

The deal comes amidst a growing number of lawsuits against OpenAI, with firms alleging unauthorized use of their content for training large language models.

In recent months, OpenAI has also secured content licensing deals with several publishers, including the Associated Press and the Financial Times.


Nigeria Court Rules Binance Executive Can Face Trial on Behalf of Crypto Exchange

Nigeria Court Rules Binance Executive Can Face Trial on Behalf of Crypto Exchange
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Nigeria Court Rules Binance Executive Can Face Trial on Behalf of Crypto Exchange

Nigeria Court Rules Binance Executive Can Face Trial on Behalf of Crypto Exchange

A Nigerian court on Friday ruled that Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan can stand trial on behalf of the cryptocurrency exchange in an ongoing tax evasion case.

Binance and executives Gambaryan, a US citizen and head of financial crimes compliance, and British-Kenyan national Nadeem Anjarwalla, a regional manager for Africa, face four counts of tax evasion.

In a separate case, they have also been charged with laundering more than $35 million and engaging in specialised financial activities without a licence. They have all pleaded not guilty to the money laundering charges.

Binance's lawyer declined to comment after Friday's court hearing. Gambaryan's lawyer also had no comment, Reuters reported.

Gambaryan remains in custody while Anjarwalla fled the country in March. Nigeria's security adviser's office has said it is working with Interpol to seek Anjarwalla's arrest.

The CEO of Binance has accused Nigeria of setting a dangerous precedent after its executives were invited to the African country in February for talks with authorities and then detained as part of a crackdown on crypto.

Binance itself has not been charged in the tax evasion case by Nigeria's Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which has said Gambaryan could face the charges on the exchange's behalf.

Gambaryan's lawyer has previously said Gambaryan was "neither a director, partner nor company secretary" and had no written instructions from Binance to face the charges on its behalf.

Judge Emeka Nwite ruled on Friday that Gambaryan should be served with the charges against Binance because he is the chief financial compliance officer of Binance and he was duly appointed to represent it in a meeting in Nigeria.

Gambaryan will be arraigned in court on Wednesday to take a plea on behalf of Binance.

Gambaryan's bail application in relation to the money laundering case was denied on Friday.

Nigeria has blamed Binance for its currency woes after cryptocurrency websites emerged as platforms of choice for trading the Nigerian naira currency, as the country grappled with chronic dollar shortages.


UK's CMA Rejects Probe into Microsoft-Mistral AI Tie-up

UK's CMA Rejects Probe into Microsoft-Mistral AI Tie-up
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UK's CMA Rejects Probe into Microsoft-Mistral AI Tie-up

UK's CMA Rejects Probe into Microsoft-Mistral AI Tie-up

Britain's competition watchdog said on Friday it would not investigate the partnership between Microsoft and Mistral AI, weeks after it invited views on the tie-up.

In February, Microsoft invested $16 million in Mistral AI, partnering to make the French start-up's artificial intelligence models available through its Azure platform. It has also invested in ChatGPT owner OpenAI.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the Mistral partnership did not qualify for investigation under Britain's merger regulations. "The CMA has considered information submitted by Microsoft and Mistral AI, together with feedback received in response to its invitation to comment," a CMA spokesperson said, Reuters reported.

"Based on the evidence, the CMA does not believe that Microsoft has acquired material influence over Mistral AI as a result of the partnership and therefore does not qualify for investigation."

The CMA in April sought comments on the partnership, as well as separate links between Microsoft and Inflection AI and a tie-up between Amazon and Anthropic.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: "Investment and partnership are essential to new players in the AI economy.

"We welcome the CMA's determination that our fractional investment and partnership with Mistral AI does not qualify as a merger or acquisition."

European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who has been looking into Big Tech's partnerships with AI start-ups, met Mistral AI last month. "We need vibrant competition in AI, now," she wrote on X after the meeting.


Technology Leads European Shares Lower

Rate-sensitive technology and real estate were the worst-hit sectors, down 0.7% each. (File/AFP)
Rate-sensitive technology and real estate were the worst-hit sectors, down 0.7% each. (File/AFP)
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Technology Leads European Shares Lower

Rate-sensitive technology and real estate were the worst-hit sectors, down 0.7% each. (File/AFP)
Rate-sensitive technology and real estate were the worst-hit sectors, down 0.7% each. (File/AFP)

European shares kicked off Friday's trade on a weaker note, led by declines in technology and real-estate companies, as investors looked forward to euro zone inflation data for some clarity on the path for interest rate cuts beyond June.

The pan-European STOXX 600 dipped 0.2% as of 0715 GMT, but was on track for its second straight weekly advance owing to a robust corporate earnings season.

All eyes are on the final euro zone inflation reading later in the day, after a report showed European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel advocated caution about further rate cuts after a likely first one in June.

Rate-sensitive technology and real estate were the worst-hit sectors, down 0.7% each, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, personal and household goods led sectoral gains, with luxury group Richemont climbing 6% after quarterly results.

H&M rose 2.5% after RBC upgraded the fashion retailer to "outperform" from "sector perform".

French re-insurer Scor dropped 8.0% after first-quarter results.

Nibe lost 4.6% after Citigroup downgraded the Swedish heat-pump maker to "neutral" from "buy", while German utility E.ON lost 4.1% on trading ex-dividend.


CoreWeave Raises $7.5 billion Debt from Blackstone, Others

CoreWeave Raises $7.5 billion Debt from Blackstone, Others
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CoreWeave Raises $7.5 billion Debt from Blackstone, Others

CoreWeave Raises $7.5 billion Debt from Blackstone, Others

Specialized cloud services provider CoreWeave is raising $7.5 billion in debt from financiers led by Blackstone and Magnetar to expand its infrastructure to meet rising artificial intelligence (AI) workloads, it said on Friday.

The deal is one of the largest debt financing rounds for a startup and adds firepower to CoreWeave's balance sheet as it looks to expand its cloud computing services to more customers, Reuters reported.

The Nvidia-backed company has raised more than $12 billion in equity and debt investments over the past 12 months, including a $1.1 billion series C investment led by private equity firm Coatue earlier this month.

"The caliber of investors in this large debt financing round is a powerful testament to ... the insatiable market appetite for AI infrastructure," CEO and co-founder Michael Intrator said in a statement.

Coatue, Carlyle, CDPQ, DigitalBridge Credit, funds managed by BlackRock, Eldridge Industries and Great Elm Capital Corp were also part of CoreWeave's latest debt raise.

CoreWeave has seen a boost from businesses rapidly adopting generative AI technology. It has partnerships with AI startups and competing cloud providers to build clusters to power AI workloads.


Microsoft Offers Cloud Customers AMD Alternative to Nvidia AI Processors 

A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, March 25, 2024. (Reuters)
A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, March 25, 2024. (Reuters)
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Microsoft Offers Cloud Customers AMD Alternative to Nvidia AI Processors 

A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, March 25, 2024. (Reuters)
A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, March 25, 2024. (Reuters)

Microsoft said on Thursday it plans to offer its cloud computing customers a platform of AMD artificial intelligence chips that will compete with components made by Nvidia, with details to be given at its Build developer conference next week.

It will also launch a preview of new Cobalt 100 custom processors at the conference.

Microsoft's clusters of Advanced Micro Devices' flagship MI300X AI chips will be sold through its Azure cloud computing service. They will give its customers an alternative to Nvidia's H100 family of powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) which dominate the data center chip market for AI but can be hard to obtain due to high demand.

To build AI models or run applications, companies typically must string together - or cluster - multiple GPUs because the data and computation will not fit on a single processor.

AMD, which expects $4 billion in AI chip revenue this year, has said the chips are powerful enough to train and run large AI models.

As well as Nvidia's top-shelf AI chips, Microsoft's cloud computing unit sells access to its own in-house AI chips called Maia.

Separately, the Cobalt 100 processors Microsoft plans to preview next week offer 40% better performance over other processors based on Arm Holdings' technology, the company said. Snowflake and others have begun to use them.

The Cobalt chips, which were announced in November, are being tested to power Teams, Microsoft's messaging tool for businesses, and positioned to compete with the in-house Graviton CPUs made by Amazon.com.