11 months ago • 2 mins
Microsoft is lining up a $10 billion investment in ChatGPT’s owner OpenAI, according to reports out on Tuesday.
What does this mean?
Microsoft’s been making eyes at ChatGPT for quite a while now, so it’s not exactly a jaw-dropper to hear that the tech giant’s broaching a more formal relationship with OpenAI: a 49% stake in the firm, to be precise. That move would give Microsoft access to some pretty nifty technology, but whether it’ll really let the company steal a march on its Big Tech rivals remains to be seen. What we do know is that AI’s emerging as a technology race to be won – and Microsoft’s set its sights on a place in the leading pack.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Wave after wave.
Every ten or 15 years, some shiny new technology gets investors feeling hot under the collar. That makes sense: a firm whose products or services truly change the world can reap untold riches for shareholders, and that’s what makes the industry so exciting. Problem is, it's hard to know who'll win the race. Plenty of hyped-up firms will miss the AI wave, while other underdogs will ride it all the way to success. As Apple's smartphone supremacy shows, the winning firm isn't always the first out the gate – but with a massive stack of cash behind it, Big Tech has as good a shot as any.
Zooming in: Search wars.
AI's probably going to influence our lives in all kinds of ways in the future, but right now it’s search industry’s territory that ChatGPT seems to be edging into. That’s not good for reigning champ, Google’s parent Alphabet. See, the tech colossus still relies on its mobile and desktop search engines to bring in the lion’s share of its revenue, but who knows – maybe one day “change default search engine” won’t be the only thing people search for on Microsoft’s Bing.
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