Microsoft sprinkles OpenAI everywhere to retain its software partners
Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella addresses attendees at Microsoft’s Build conference in Seattle on May 23, 2023.
Dan Long | Microsoft
If there’s one company that’s popularized artificial intelligence over the past year, it’s the small but lavishly funded startup OpenAI, the entity behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT.
This week at its Build conference for software developers, Microsoft has made extensive use of his collaboration with the startup, in which he has invested billions.
On Tuesday, the first day of the show, there was an onstage conversation between Greg Brockman, co-founder and president of OpenAI, and Kevin Scott, Microsoft’s chief technology officer and the person who is credited with building of the unusually close relationship between the two companies.
“You heard it from Greg,” Scott told the crowd gathered at the Seattle Convention Center near the end of the conference. “You are the people who are going to make AI great.”
To that end, Microsoft has announced a slew of developer products that build on OpenAI’s technology:
- There are new Azure cloud tools for custom text summarization.
- An upcoming chatbot promises to help developers work with data and prepare it for analysis.
- Developers will be able to create plugins that work in ChatGPT and chatbots in Microsoft’s own products, including one that will debut in Windows next month.
- Developers who receive coding suggestions through the GitHub Copilot feature will have access to a chatbot inside the Windows Terminal command-line program.
Generative AI will change software forever, says Nadella
OpenAI launched ChatGPT globally in November, garnering a lot of consumer interest. Soon after, companies such as Atlassian, Morgan Stanley And Selling power rushed to show integrations of OpenAI’s big GPT-4 language model, which powers the chatbot. GPT-4 and alternatives like Amazon And Google were trained on large internet datasets and became capable of spitting out natural-sounding chunks of text.
This is a popular form of what is now called generative AI, which can take human input and respond with computer-generated output.
“Every layer of the software stack is going to be changed forever and there’s no better place to start than the current developer stack,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his keynote on Tuesday. on Build. “As developers, the way we build fundamentally changes.”
It is essential that third-party developers continue to enrich Microsoft’s own software properties, such as the Microsoft 365 productivity software suite. Such work could help Microsoft’s Teams communications application, for example, become a more obvious hub for an ever-widening selection of processes and tasks businesses need to perform. This can make businesses less likely to switch to alternatives such as Google Workspace.
Microsoft highlighted dozens of plugin developers on Tuesday, including Adobe, AsanaCloth, Cloudy, red fin, Spotify and TripAdvisor. A demo showed the Windows chatbot activating a Spotify playlist, creating a company logo with Adobe Express, and sending the logo to someone’s colleagues via Teams in response to a series of typed messages.
Greg Brockman, president and co-founder of OpenAI, and Kevin Scott, chief technology officer of Microsoft, speak on stage during Microsoft’s Build conference in Seattle on May 23, 2023.
Dan Long | Microsoft
At the same time, Nadella lobbied for Microsoft to integrate GPT-4 directly into Teams and older Microsoft products, such as the Bing search engine, often resulting in bots going by the name Copilot. The term Copilot emphasizes working with people, unlike (for example) the advanced driver assistance system Autopilot for You’re here Vehicles.
“We’re adding Copilot to everything,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and AI group, told CNBC in an interview last week. “It’s less of a top-down mandate, although we’re definitely pushing from the top down. I think it’s something that we’ve really evangelized internally and got every team excited about. And we let’s build a common stack across Microsoft that the whole company builds on.”
Analysts responded favorably to the onslaught of developers.
“MSFT’s pace of GenAI innovation remains breathtaking to us,” Mizuho analysts wrote with a buy note on Microsoft shares in a note to clients on Wednesday.
Brockman hinted to developers that the cost of GPT-4, which runs in Azure, might come down.
“I think we did a 70% price cut two years ago,” he told Scott. “Basically, last year we cut costs by 90%. A 10x cost reduction is crazy, isn’t it? And I think we can do the same in many times with new models. And so GPT -4 right now, it’s expensive, it’s not fully available. But that’s one of the things that I think will change.
SHOW: Microsoft Build 2023 unveils plugins and products that integrate AI