After OpenAI, Microsoft takes Mistral – another high-profile AI startup



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Summary

Microsoft announces a partnership with French AI startup Mistral AI. This will give Microsoft an even better starting position for AI in Europe.

The two companies aim to bridge the gap between fundamental AI research and practical solutions. The multi-year partnership gives Mistral AI access to Microsoft Azure’s AI infrastructure.

This is intended to accelerate the development and deployment of Mistral’s next-generation Large Language Models (LLMs) and open up new business opportunities for Mistral AI. It will also support Mistral’s expansion into global markets and research.

The collaboration between Microsoft and Mistral AI focuses on three key areas

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  • Supercomputing infrastructure: Microsoft will support Mistral AI with Azure AI supercomputing infrastructure for AI training and inference workloads.
  • Scaling to market: Microsoft and Mistral AI will make Mistral AI’s premium models available to customers through Models as a Service (MaaS) in Azure AI Studio and the Azure Machine Learning Model Catalog.
  • AI Research and Development: Microsoft and Mistral AI will explore collaboration to develop dedicated models for select customers, including European public sector workloads.

Mistral AI’s new flagship model, Mistral Large, will initially be available only on Azure AI and the Mistral AI platform.

Microsoft helps Mistral helps Microsoft

The two companies are not disclosing financial details. Mistral AI recently raised 450 million euros at a valuation of nearly two billion dollars, led by tech investor Andreessen Horowitz.

However, there is still an imbalance in funding compared to the US. OpenAI has received well over ten billion dollars from Microsoft alone, while Anthropic has received up to six billion dollars from Google and Amazon.

For Microsoft, the investment is an opportunity to establish itself more firmly in the European AI landscape. As the only provider of OpenAI models on EU servers in the Azure cloud, Microsoft is already ahead in the European AI race.

But AI is still viewed critically in many sectors in the EU, especially when it comes to data protection. A European AI model on servers in Europe could be a remedy.

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