Microsoft debuted its first pair of custom artificial intelligence chips designed to train large language models Wednesday as the tech giant looks to compete with chipmaker Nvidia, as well as Amazon and Google, sending the Redmond, Washington-based company’s stock to yet another record high.
- Microsoft announced two chips, the Microsoft Azure Maia 100 AI Accelerator and the Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100 central processing unit, which the company said are optimized for AI, generative AI and cloud computing, as the company looks to compete with Nvidia’s popular AI graphics processing units.
- The chips, which Microsoft plans to release early next year at company data centers, are designed to power its Bing AI chatbot, Microsoft’s Copilot and Azure OpenAI, which the company said will “help meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable compute power” and as users look to “take advantage of the latest cloud and AI breakthroughs.”
- Shares of Microsoft, which have surged more than 54% on the year, continue to hit record highs, rising to just over $369 Wednesday.
Share prices of Nvidia a leading chip producer behind generative AI have skyrocketed in recent months, surpassing $502 per share in August before declining narrowly to nearly $490 as of Wednesday. The company’s impressive stock hike over the summer came on the heels of a spike in its quarterly sales and profits, beating analysts’ expectations by more than 20%, and as generative AI platforms take off, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, GitHub Copilot, Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing Chat.
Amazon and Google have both developed custom chips for cloud computing and have entered the blossoming AI arena. Amazon in September announced plans to invest as much as $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic, which the company said it hopes to use in its products and services. Google also invested $300 million in Anthropic late last year, saying it plans to co-develop AI computing systems. Microsoft, which backs ChatGPT maker OpenAI, announced in an earnings report last month it had raked in more than $56 billion in sales over the previous quarter, beating analyst projections as it leaned heavily into artificial intelligence, including its Azure cloud business.