Microsoft Taiwan unveils Model-as-a-Service and teases data center launch

Ines Lin, Taipei; Jerry Chen, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: Microsoft

During a forum hosted by Microsoft Taiwan spotlighting the AI assistant Copilot, the company's provision of Model-as-a-Service (MaaS), encompassing models from OpenAI was announced.

Additionally, while the official opening date remains undisclosed, Microsoft's data center in Taiwan is said to be operational soon.

Sean Pien, General Manager of Microsoft Taiwan, noted that Azure OpenAI services were globally launched in January 2023, with over 18,000 companies adopting them. Copilot, on the other hand, boasts subscriptions from 37,000 enterprises and usage by over a million paying customers.

The development of Generative AI (GenAI) in the corporate sector can be summarized into five major trends: Out-Of-Box Experience (OOBE), enterprise-built Copilots, regulatory compliance, essential cybersecurity, and the critical role of talent.

OOBE refers to Microsoft's integration of AI into nearly all its offerings, including the upcoming Copilot for Security slated for April. Additionally, Copilot deployed in the cloud-based office software M365 is expanding language support, with a traditional Chinese version set to debut by the end of April.

Use, guide, and write AI

Pien emphasized Taiwan's competitive edge in the wave of GenAI lies in its trustworthy talent pool and comprehensive industry chain. He outlined talent cultivation in three areas, indicating Microsoft's continuous assistance in nurturing individuals skilled in "using AI, guiding AI, and writing AI."

Users proficient in AI are digital polymaths, while IT experts who integrate AI into enterprises are highly sought-after talents in Taiwan, possessing both technological and industrial acumen for cross-domain integration.

Developers who write AI can leverage no-code/low-code tools.

Recently, Google Taiwan also introduced talent development strategies, focusing on AI popularization, application, and innovation.

Roan Kang, General Manager of Microsoft Azure Strategic Operations in Asia, mentioned an increasing number of models available on the Azure platform from providers like OpenAI, Meta, Hugging Face, Mistral AI, and Deci AI, allowing users to fine-tune them in a hosted environment. As many governments seek to develop proprietary models, Microsoft has been collaborating with various government agencies.

In terms of AI infrastructure, Microsoft continues to collaborate with industry players like Nvidia and AMD to optimize AI models in software and hardware. Hence, using GPT series models on Microsoft's platform yields better performance than other providers.

New data center

In 2020, Microsoft announced the establishment of its first cloud region data center in Taiwan, rumored to be located in Taoyuan. During a visit to the site in late 2023, construction was visibly underway.

Regarding the specific opening time of the data center, Microsoft Taiwan stated on the 19th, "Building the Microsoft global data center region is a large-scale project that requires careful planning and management and will be implemented in phases to ensure the safety of employees and contractors, compliance with multiple regulations, and meet our design and operation for an internationally scalable, secure, and compliant cloud service. The data center project is currently in progress, and if there are any further updates, we will share them accordingly."