Microsoft is taking the AI race very seriously: “AI is going to be one of the trends that is going to be the next big shift in technology,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at a recent investor’s conference…. It’s going to be AI at the edge, AI in the cloud, AI as part of SaaS applications, AI as part of in fact even infrastructure.”
And Microsoft is planning to be a leader in AI from the cloud to the edge.
MS last month closed the $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub – or, as Microsoft calls it on GitHub: “Open source, from Microsoft with love.”
I’ll leave out the obligatory Russia joke here.
It goes almost without saying, but Microsoft will operate GitHub as an independent business to “retain its product philosophy.”
Co-founder and ex-CEO, Chris Wanstrath, aka “DEFUNKT”, said in the GitHub blog that “when GitHub first launched ten years ago, I could have never imagined this headline. Git was a powerful but niche tool, clouds were just things in the sky, and Microsoft was a very different company.” Ten years and $1.4 billion for Chris later, at age 33, he is handing the reigns to Microsoft’s Nat Friedman, and will serve as an advisor.
Nat put out a “hello” blog on GitHub: “Who am I? My name is Nat and I’ve been a developer since I was six. I’ve been active in open source since the 90s when I discovered Linux.
Today I live in San Francisco with my wife and daughter. Two years ago I joined Microsoft when it acquired Xamarin, a developer-focused company I started with Miguel de Icaza. I was delighted to see that Microsoft was broadening its horizons as a developer-centric company by rallying behind technologies like Linux, Git, node, and Kubernetes.”
Obligatory, Nat also did an AMA on Reddit (look both up, what it is and what he posted).
For those of you that wonder what GitHub is or what it can do, below is machine learning repository “DeOldify by Jason Antic”. It is a deep learning based project that is used to colorize and restoring the old black and white images into a colourful one. Looks like this:
But back to Microsoft and AI: Nadella is tying the race for AI leadership to MS Azure, the commercial cloud business that generated north of $20 billion in the last year.
At Morgan Stanley’s TMT conference, he commented: “You’re collecting lots of data, you take that data and you rendezvous it both in the edge, as well as in the cloud. Then once you have a lot of data you reason over that data so that you can do some predictions, because ultimately AI translates into two things: predictive or analytical power.”
To put his thoughts into a real-world context for one of the biggest industries in the world, Microsoft recently announced a tech partnership with BlackRock to find retirement solutions in the digital age.
To read the full case study on Microsoft’s transition over the last decade, and where it is placing its AI bets, in the context of investment management, click here.