Jan 24, 2023 - Technology

Why Microsoft is betting big on ChatGPT

Illustration of dollar bill signs surrounded by arrows, wavy lines and circles.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

OpenAI on Monday announced a significant expansion of its partnership with Microsoft, via a "multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment."

Why it matters: Microsoft for years was viewed as the sleepy tech giant, unable to match the innovation and flash of its rivals. That time is over.

  • Microsoft's business is productivity, and OpenAI is at the forefront of the next wave of productivity tools.
  • There's also a good chance that Microsoft will integrate ChatGPT into Bing, which so far has failed to rival Google's search dominance.

Between the lines: Remaining a minority investor lets Microsoft benefit from OpenAI's technology without taking responsibility for any of its ethical headaches.

  • For its part, OpenAI gets billions of dollars without having to run its decisions by Microsoft's ethics or financial committees.

Details: Neither side is providing many details, although prior reports suggested that Microsoft was planning to invest around $10 billion at a $29 billion valuation.

  • The tech giant first backed OpenAI in 2019, via a $1 billion investment that was partially in the form of credits on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform.

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