The race in the field of artificial intelligence is entering the next round: this week especially between the two tech giants Microsoft and Amazon.
Amazon has launched “Q”, a chat robot for companies that can, for example, summarize emails and meetings. This means the competition is heating up. Microsoft already has a chat robot called Copilot and has been available to corporate customers since the beginning of November. Microsoft Office products such as Word, Outlook and Powerpoint are being upgraded with AI. Microsoft also secured a seat on the board of directors at OpenAI this week. This is the company that invented ChatGPT.
Who is leading the race? Business editor Pascal Lago classifies.
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Pascal Lago studied economics in Zurich and St. Gallen. He has been working as a business editor at Radio SRF since March 2022.
Did the turmoil surrounding OpenAI hurt Microsoft?
On the contrary. Microsoft was able to consolidate its influence on the company OpenAI. And now has a seat on the board of directors, although without voting rights, Microsoft now sees first-hand what kind of strategy OpenAI is pursuing and can also get involved early on.
The soap opera surrounding OpenAI – the inventor of ChatGPT
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Microsoft’s AI products are based on technology from OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. That’s why Microsoft was directly affected by the turmoil at OpenAI last week. OpenAI boss Sam Altman was fired. But a few days later he was allowed back and then the board of directors was replaced. Among other things, due to pressure from Microsoft. Meanwhile, Microsoft itself even has a seat on the board of directors, without voting rights.
One of Microsoft’s newest products also benefits from this: the Copilot, which upgrades Microsoft Office products such as Word, Outlook and Powerpoint with AI for corporate customers. Microsoft’s AI is supposed to help write emails and summarize meetings.
Amazon also launched a chat robot for companies this week. A serious competition?
In any case, Amazon is very strong in the cloud business with its subsidiary AWS (Amazon Web Services). Cloud technology is needed to train artificial intelligence. Amazon already has many corporate customers on its cloud services.
Caption: IMAGO/SOPA Images;
Who is ahead in this race?
Microsoft, but only a little. With its co-pilot, Microsoft was on the market before Amazon’s “Q”. And since the launch of ChatGPT last year, and thanks to the collaboration with OpenAI, Microsoft not only has access to one of the leading AI technologies, but is also better known to the general public as an AI company.
Nevertheless, it is currently unclear whether Microsoft will earn more money from corporate customers thanks to AI. The co-pilot is still too young to have an impact on the balance sheet.
Artificial intelligence for the office is expensive
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Both tech giants – Microsoft and Amazon – say that many corporate customers, including from Switzerland, are already using the AI products. However, many companies are only likely to use such products partially and first test the applications with a few employees.
Because the AI products are very expensive. For example, Microsoft’s Copilot costs $30 per month per user. Companies that want to equip Microsoft Office products with artificial intelligence have to dig deep into their pockets.
And in the medium term, the AI race among Big Tech companies is far from over. Amazon is strong in the cloud business and, with its many data centers, is serious competition. And Alphabet (Google) and Meta (Facebook) don’t sleep either. Everyone is investing billions in the data centers needed to train artificial intelligence.
Are the billions spent by tech companies worth it?
It’s an expensive bet on the future. But the big tech companies are convinced that it will pay off. Because they are sure that thanks to AI, all companies, i.e. their customers, will become more productive and are therefore willing to pay for AI products. But the race, and where it will lead, has only just begun.