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Microsoft's Next Billion-Dollar AI and Cloud Investment Goes to France

Microsoft this week announced its "largest investment in France" in the form of a $4.3 billion (or 4 billion euro) AI and cloud infrastructure package.

Besides further solidifying Microsoft's European footprint, the investment, made on Monday during the Choose France summit, also stands to boost France's competitiveness in the digital technology sector and create long-term economic benefits for the country.

"This major investment demonstrates a steadfast commitment to supporting digital innovation and economic growth in France," said Microsoft President Brad Smith. "We are building state-of-the-art cloud and AI infrastructure, training people with AI skills, and supporting French startups as they use our technology with confidence to grow in a fair and responsible way."

Microsoft will focus on three key areas: cloud and AI infrastructure, AI skilling and French Tech acceleration. For infrastructure, Microsoft said it is bringing 25,000 advanced AI GPUs to the country to support the growing demand for gen AI. Many of these chips will be designated for upgrading the company's datacenters in Paris and Marseille and establishing a new datacenter in the Grand Est region of France.

As with the company's other recent high-profile global investments, like those in Japan and India, the company said that some of the investment capital will go toward renewable energy. Microsoft said that it plans to generate 100 megawatts of renewable energy for operations by the end of 2024 and a zero-waste threshold by 2030.

Microsoft aims to train 1 million people and support 2,500 AI startups by 2027, aligning with France's National Strategy for AI and the French Commission for Artificial Intelligence's recommendations to establish France as a leader in AI development and usage.

As for user safety, Microsoft will operate its AI services and infrastructure in France according to its AI Access Principles, which aim to foster innovation and healthy competition within the AI economy. The company has adopted a Responsible AI Standard for its AI platforms and services and has established an AI Assurance Program to promote responsible AI practices more broadly.

Microsoft's Commitment to Responsible AI and Environmental Sustainability Microsoft will operate its AI services and infrastructure in France according to its AI Access Principles, which aim to foster innovation and healthy competition within the AI economy. The company has adopted a Responsible AI Standard for its AI platforms and services and has established an AI Assurance Program to promote responsible AI practices more broadly.

Finally, Microsoft has committed to supporting the French startup ecosystem with initiatives to accelerate over 2,500 startups by 2027 through its new flagship program, Microsoft GenAI Studio. This program will provide AI expertise, cloud credits and support activities to select French startups, aiming to accelerate the adoption of AI among them. Microsoft GenAI Studio will also include a program run twice a year over three years to accelerate the adoption of AI by select French startups.

About the Author

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

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