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Microsoft Earmarks $4.3 Billion for AI/Cloud Projects in France

Microsoft

Microsoft says it is investing $4.3 billion toward tech projects in France.

The spending package will focus on cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure, “AI skilling, and French Tech acceleration,” the company announced Monday (May 13), with the goal of training 1 million people and supporting 2,500 AI startups by 2027.

The news marks Microsoft’s largest investment in France in the tech giant’s 41-year history of doing business in the country.

It was announced as part of the annual “Choose France” summit, aimed at making the country into a financial hub for Europe. This year will see more than $14 billion in investments from global businesses, including a $1.29 billion AI-focused program from Amazon.

This major investment demonstrates a steadfast commitment to supporting digital innovation and economic growth in France,” Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in the announcement.

“We are building state-of-the-art cloud and AI infrastructure, training people with AI skills, and supporting French startups as they use our technology with confidence to grow in a fair and responsible way.”

The project will see Microsoft expand its data center footprint at existing sites in Paris and Marseille regions, while also investing in the creation of a new data center campus in France’s Grand Est Region.

The investment comes as Microsoft works to stay ahead in the AI race against fellow tech giants like Amazon, Meta and Google, tech analyst Vaclav Vincalek said in an interview with PYMNTS last week when the company announced a $3.3 billion data hub in Wisconsin.

“It seems to release ‘major’ AI announcements every week and most are just news fodder,” Vincalek told PYMNTS.

“$3.3 billion isn’t a small sum, but right now it’s just a number. Same thing when Google announced its billions in AI investments two weeks ago. The large corporations want to be seen as the AI company, but I wouldn’t be banking on any one company right now until we see tangible results that positively impact business operations.”

Assuming the AI infrastructure comes to pass, he said, companies would gain access to more advanced AI capabilities.

“For example, more sophisticated machine learning algorithms can help analyze larger and larger datasets in shorter time frames,” said Vincalek. “Or improved natural language processing to actually better serve customers with AI.”

In addition to its announced investments, Microsoft is also reportedly working on an in-house AI model that would be larger than the open-source models it has already trained.