Microsoft Teams Up with Mistral AI: Expanding AI Footprint in Europe

Microsoft on Monday declared a fresh collaboration with French startup Mistral AI – Europe’s counterpart to ChatGPT creator OpenAI — as the U.S. tech behemoth endeavors to broaden its presence in the swiftly evolving artificial intelligence sector.

Microsoft affirmed in a statement that it was injecting funds into the 2 billion euro ($2.1 billion), 10-month-old enterprise to facilitate the discovery of “new commercial opportunities” and extend into global markets while refraining from disclosing further financial particulars.

Per the agreement, Mistral’s large language models (LLM) — the cornerstone of generative AI products — will be accessible on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, marking it as only the second entity to house its LLM on the platform post-OpenAI.

Mistral's large language models to join Microsoft Azure
Mistral’s large language models to join Microsoft Azure, widening generative AI reach.

Moreover, the partnership will witness Microsoft fortify the startup’s outreach to fresh clientele as it unveils its ChatGPT-style multilingual conversational assistant “Le Chat,” or “the cat.” Microsoft President Brad Smith underscored on Monday that the pact signaled the company’s firm support for European technology.

“I really think this day is one of the most important days in terms of Microsoft’s technology support for Europe,” Smith conveyed to CNBC’s Karen Tso at the Mobile World Congress tech conference in Barcelona, Spain.

“What we’re fundamentally agreeing to a long-term partnership with Mistral AI so that they can train and deploy their next-generation models for AI on our AI data centers, our infrastructure, effective immediately,” he appended.

Amid Escalating Scrutiny

This development unfolds as Microsoft grapples with pressure from EU antitrust regulators over its purported $13 billion investment in San Francisco-based OpenAI. Responding to queries regarding whether the investment was a bid to assuage competition concerns, Smith maintained that the company was committed to fostering a diverse product spectrum.

Collaboration signals Microsoft's commitment to European tech
Collaboration signals Microsoft’s commitment to European tech innovation and diverse product offerings. (Credits: X- formerly Twitter)

“It’s important for us to show that this isn’t just about Microsoft technology, it’s not just about American products. This is going to be an engine for technology, innovation, and growth in Europe as well,” he emphasized.

Smith highlighted that the investment in Mistral AI would also earmark funds for research and development endeavors, encompassing AI models tailored for public sector services in Europe.

“I think Europe wants, needs, and deserves a wide range of offerings,” Smith emphasized.

Earlier on Monday, Spanish telecoms titan Telefónica disclosed striking a deal to embed Microsoft’s Azure AI Studio into its digital ecosystem, Kernel, thereby enabling personnel to interpret data leveraging generative AI language models.

Rival tech titans such as Google and Amazon have similarly been amplifying their investments in AI amidst burgeoning excitement surrounding the nascent technology. Last week, global markets surged to record highs spurred by stellar results from AI chipmaker Nvidia.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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