Microsoft Making $1.5B Cloud and AI Investment in G42

Microsoft, which recently announced plans to open a London branch of its AI group, this month announced it is also extending the reach of its cloud and AI technologies in the United Arab Emirates. 

The company last week announced a $1.5 billion investment in Abu Dhabi-based AI conglomerate G42. Besides giving Microsoft minority ownership of G42 and a seat on its board (to be held by Microsoft President Brad Smith), the investment puts Microsoft in position to tap relatively underserved markets in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

The two companies are also collaborating on a combined $1 billion developer fund for the region.

G42 comprises seven subsidiary companies serving multiple industries, including public sector, healthcare and transportation. In the UAE, it's an early adopter of Microsoft's sovereign cloud platform, which is designed for public sector organizations that want to use Microsoft's Azure cloud while remaining compliant with local regulations around data privacy and residency.

As part of the deal, G42 will migrate its "data platform and other essential technology infrastructure" to Azure, according to a blog post by Microsoft CMO Judson Althoff. That means G42 will be able to tap into Azure's extensive AI portfolio to improve its product development and delivery processes. The company will also double down on its efforts to bring Microsoft cloud services and Azure compute to customers in the area.

"By bringing expanded low latency datacenter infrastructure to emerging markets, Microsoft and G42 will help accelerate digital transformation across key industries in those regions," Althoff said. "This will provide countries across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa with expanded access to services and technologies that will allow them to address the most challenging business concerns while ensuring the highest standards of security and privacy."

Additionally, Microsoft will add G42's Arabic-language LLM, called Jais, to the model catalog in Azure AI Studio.

"The expanded partnership with Microsoft will help accelerate the adoption of G42's groundbreaking AI products and services, such as Jais, making them available through Microsoft Azure," said Althoff.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.