Microsoft earlier this month said it planned to add ChatGPT to Azure and announced the broad availability of its Azure OpenAI Service, which has been an option to a limited set of customers since it was unveiled in 2021. The service gives Microsoft’s cloud customers access to various OpenAI tools like the GPT-3.5 language system that ChatGPT is based on, as well as the Dall-E model for generating images from text prompts. That enables Azure customers to use the OpenAI products in their own applications running in the cloud.
Microsoft itself is currently using the developer’s language AI to add automation to its Copilot programming tool, and wants to add such technology to its Bing search engine, Office productivity applications, Teams chat program and security software. The Redmond, Washington-based company is putting DALL-E into design software and offering it to Azure cloud customers.
Nadella is deepening Microsoft’s ties with OpenAI as Google, which has long been essentially untouchable in search, suddenly appears vulnerable. The Alphabet unit’s prevailing model of keyword queries uses search engines to comb the web for specific terms, and then lets users make their own decisions as to what information is useful.
By contrast, ChatGPT responds to questions about topics such as political science and computer programming with detailed explanations, and its question-and-answer format means users can drill down until they fully understand. The bot is capable of responding to queries in a natural and human-like manner, carrying on a conversation and answering follow-up questions, unlike the basic list of blue links that a Google search provides.
News of the investment comes less than a week after Microsoft said it’s laying off 10,000 workers as a weakening economy crimps software demand. Microsoft noted in that announcement that it will still invest and hire in key priority areas. The software maker reports fiscal second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.