May 24, 2024

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Microsoft and Amazon invest $5.6 billion in France

Microsoft and Amazon invest $5.6 billion in France

The company said it plans to invest in bringing up to 25,000 of the most advanced graphics processing units, or GPUs, to France by the end of 2025. Microsoft will also train 1 million people and support 2,500 AI startups by 2027.

The announcement was made during the “Choose France” summit, a gathering dedicated to encouraging foreign investment in France.

“This significant investment demonstrates a firm commitment to supporting digital innovation and economic growth in France,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement on Monday.

“We build modern cloud and AI infrastructure, train people in AI skills, and support French startups as they confidently use technology to grow in a fair and responsible way.”

As part of its investment, Microsoft will also open a new data center in the French city of Mulhouse.

Meanwhile, Amazon has pledged to invest €1.2 billion in France.

The money will go toward creating more than 3,000 jobs in France — in addition to the 2,000 new jobs Amazon has already announced for 2024 — as well as broadly increasing Amazon’s footprint in the country, according to Frédéric Duval, Amazon’s country manager.

“Expanding our logistics network supports local economic development, creates good jobs and allows us to reduce the carbon footprint of our deliveries while improving the overall customer experience,” Duval said in a statement on Monday.

Microsoft and Amazon’s combined commitments to France amount to $5.6 billion in financing. In total, France reportedly secured record investment commitments worth €15 billion from foreign companies at the annual “Choose France” summit held on Monday.

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French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to promote France as a center for artificial intelligence. Paris is already a major center for AI research and development, with Facebook establishing one of its main AI laboratories, FAIR, there in 2015.

Last year, at the VivaTech technology fair in Paris, Macron announced new funding of €500 million ($540 million) to create new AI “champions,” adding to previous commitments from the government. Including the promise To pump 1.5 billion euros into artificial intelligence before 2022.

Microsoft is also making a charm offensive of its own by committing to invest billions of euros in France at a time when French officials have expressed concerns about the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant’s investment in AI startup Mistral.

Microsoft recently invested €15 million in Mistral. The deal saw Microsoft take a stake in Mistral and the latter add its large language model to the technology giant’s Azure cloud computing platform.

Microsoft has pushed back on competition concerns surrounding its investment in Mistral, saying the company remains independent and that its partnership is a minority equity investment and business relationship, not a merger. The British Competition Regulatory Authority is seeking comments on the deal.