Microsoft Announces GA of Azure OpenAI Service, ChatGPT on Way

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Microsoft has announced the general availability of Azure OpenAI Service, the result of a partnership with OpenAI whose ChatGPT generative AI application has created a sensation since its late November launch that generated 1 million-plus downloads in its first week.

The announcement follows last week’s news that Microsoft was in talks to invest $10 billion in OpenAI as part of a funding round that would value the company at $29 billion, according to the news site Semafor on January 9. Three years ago, Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI and became a preferred partner for new AI technologies commercialization.

It’s also been rumored that ChatGPT may be built into Bing, enhancing the Microsoft search engine’s competitive standing versus Google. ChatGPT could also be integrated into other Microsoft Office applications, according to tech publication The Information.

In a blog yesterday from Eric Boyd, Microsoft’s Corporate VP, AI Platform, he said the availability of Azure OpenAI Service means businesses can apply for access to OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL•E 2 AI systems “to create cutting-edge applications.”

“Customers will also be able to access ChatGPT — a fine-tuned version of GPT-3.5 that has been trained and runs inference on Azure AI infrastructure—through Azure OpenAI Service soon,” Boyd said.

Azure OpenAI Service is designed to provide businesses and developers with high-performance AI models at production scale, Boyd said. “This is the same production service that Microsoft uses to power its own products, including GitHub Copilot, an AI pair programmer that helps developers write better code, Power BI, which leverages GPT-3-powered natural language to automatically generate formulae and expressions, and the recently-announced Microsoft Designer, which helps creators build stunning content with natural language prompts.”


Eric Boyd of Microsoft

Microsoft cited a customer testimonial from Big Four accounting firm KPMG.

“KPMG is using Azure OpenAI Service to help companies realize significant efficiencies in their Tax ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives,” said Brett Weaver, KPMG partner and tax ESG leader. “Companies are moving to make their total tax contributions publicly available. With much of these tax payments buried in IT systems outside of finance, massive data volumes, and incomplete data attributes, Azure OpenAI Service finds the data relationships to predict tax payments and tax type—making it much easier to validate accuracy and categorize payments by country and tax type.”