Microsoft, Nvidia Accelerate AI Land Grab

Two of the biggest players in today's AI space are expanding their presence in a widening swath of the globe, with the goal of increasing datacenter power, as well as courting local talent and mindshare.

Microsoft this week announced it is bringing its recently created Microsoft AI group to the United Kingdom. Microsoft AI London will focus on advancing the technology around language models, AI infrastructure and tooling for foundation models. The new hub will work in close collaboration with Microsoft's AI teams and partners like OpenAI.

"There is an enormous pool of AI talent and expertise in the U.K., and Microsoft AI plans to make a significant, long-term investment in the region as we begin hiring the best AI scientists and engineers into this new AI hub," wrote Mustafa Suleyman, CEO of Microsoft AI, in a blog post Monday.

The London-based team will be headed by research scientist Jordan Hoffmann, who migrated to Microsoft from DeepMind at the same time as Suleyman. Microsoft said it will begin aggressively hiring AI engineers and scientists to fill out the new hub, which will work closely with Microsoft Research's Cambridge lab.  

Suleyman said the new center will enhance Microsoft's AI research efforts in the U.K., and is part of the financial commitment the company recently made to the region. "The Microsoft AI London hub adds to Microsoft's existing presence in the U.K., including the Microsoft Research Cambridge lab, home to some of the foremost researchers in the areas of AI, cloud and productivity," wrote Suleyman. "At the same time, it builds off Microsoft's recently announced £2.5 billion investment to upskill the U.K. workforce for the AI era and to build the infrastructure to power the AI economy, including our commitment to bring 20,000 of the most advanced GPUs to the country by 2026."

Asian Expansion
In related news, Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it is investing $2.9 billion on building out its cloud and AI infrastructure in Japan. The investment, which is the company's largest in the region in almost half a century, will be spread over the next two years.

Microsoft President Brad Smith made the announcement during an interview with Japanese financial publication Nikkei. Smith said the investment includes adding AI semiconductors to two of its regional datacenters, setting up new research centers for AI and robotics, and training 3 million workers over the next three years in AI-related skills.

"The competitiveness of every part of the Japanese economy...will depend on the adoption of AI," said Smith.

Meanwhile, Nvidia, already the AI market's leading chip provider, is also planning a Southeast Asia expansion. Last week, the government of Indonesia announced that Nvidia has agreed to work with local telecommunications giant Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (IOH) to build an "AI Center" in the country, a project that's estimated to be worth $200 million.

The AI Center will be located in Solo Technopark in Central Java, according to a statement last week on Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Informatics Web site.

Nezar Patria, the country's Deputy Minister of Communications and Information, described the project as "very strategic."

"We hope that there will also be technology transfer so that we are not just users," he said, "but can later become part of the AI players that are taken into account both regionally and at the global level."

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.