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Strength in numbers: Tech giants form alliances, gamble on AI

Ollie Chang, Taipei; Jay Liang, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: Bloomberg

Microsoft, Apple, and Google have made significant investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The rise in investments reflects confidence in that market that AI has the potential to change the world. It is clear that AI adoption is necessary for companies to innovate and stand out in a fiercely competitive market.

According to Bloomberg, to dominate the market in Generative AI (GenAI), companies must master computing power, advanced models, reliability, and user-friendly products, and consider how to introduce them to consumers. It is evident that no tech company has achieved this yet.

Despite investing billions of dollars in partnerships, relevant investments, and product development, companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple are still exploring. They have not succeeded in creating consumer AI products capable of generating revenue and seizing market share.

Analysts at Global X ETFs pointed out that even for tech giants or cloud providers with abundant resources, it's challenging to independently build an entire GenAI ecosystem. They must continuously seek talented individuals and technologies to fill this gap.

Over the past year, Microsoft integrated Copilot into its search engine Bing, web browser Edge, and Office software. January 2024 data from research firm Statista indicated that Bing ranks second in the search engine market, and Google remains dominant with over 90% market share.

In March 2024, Microsoft brought in Mustafa Suleyman and Karén Simonyan, co-founders of the startup Inflection AI, to join its new AI department with Suleyman as team lead and Simonyan as chief scientist. Many Inflection AI employees have followed Suleyman and Simonyan to Microsoft.

Microsoft invested in OpenAI in 2019 and 2023, obtaining exclusive licensing for its LLM. OpenAI only holds foundational technologies and does not develop products for Microsoft.

Bloomberg reported that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was unsatisfied with the developed products and wanted someone to oversee product development. This is also why Nadella hired Suleyman to lead the new AI department.

In July 2023, insiders revealed that Apple was developing a framework called Ajax to build large language models. A chatbot named Apple GPT had even emerged internally.

However, Apple's technology still lags behind Google and other competitors. Therefore, directly collaborating with other companies might be a better option.

According to Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Apple is negotiating with Google and Baidu to introduce Google's large language model (LLM) Gemini into the iPhone. This move aims to strengthen its presence in the Chinese market, and Apple might also introduce Baidu's Generative AI technology.

Based on past schedules, foreign media estimate Apple could unveil its AI-enabled devices at the WWDC developer conference in June 2024.