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Microsoft: Insiders fear too much focus on OpenAI

Microsoft: Insiders fear too much focus on OpenAI

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Ben Kariman/Getty Images

Microsoft's AI strategy is increasingly focused on its partnership with OpenAI, some Microsoft insiders complain.

This shift has led to the departure of some executives and reduced expansion of Microsoft's own services.

Some Microsoft employees reportedly work so closely with OpenAI that they have key cards that allow them to enter OpenAI's offices.

This is a machine translation of an article from our American colleagues at Business Insider. Automatically translated and verified by a real editor.

Some Microsoft insiders worry that the company's AI strategy has focused too much on its partnership with OpenAI. Some even complain that the software giant has become too great an IT department for startups. These comments were part of a recent Business Insider US investigation. Microsoft insiders are reporting publicly on the future of the company's AI and new Copilot tools.

The group in question here is the Microsoft AI Platform team, led by Eric Boyd. It is part of Scott Guthrie's Cloud AI organization. The organization, which has had a lot of internal AI activity in the past, has relied heavily on the OpenAI partnership. This caused some discontent and led to the departure of some executives who worked on Microsoft's internal AI initiatives.

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Criticism of the focus on OpenAI

Insiders say Microsoft is focusing less on the internal services used to configure Azure AI services and more on the Azure OpenAI service. Products like Azure Cognitive Search are virtually nonexistent, said a former executive who left the company as part of the changes. This also applies to Azure AI Bot Service and Kinect DK. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said that these services exist in some form.

However, it is either not part of the Azure AI organization, has been renamed, or is bundled with other products. “The previous Azure AI is basically just technical support for OpenAI,” a former Microsoft executive said. Now it's more about IT for OpenAI. “The beating heart of innovation is elsewhere.” This person added: “It's not very innovative, but it's a good business strategy.” They requested anonymity when discussing sensitive matters.

The Azure OpenAI service includes hundreds of developers. Developers support Microsoft Azure Cloud Service clients that use OpenAI's GPT models. Some Microsoft employees work so closely with OpenAI that they have key cards that allow them to enter OpenAI offices, and some OpenAI employees can identify themselves at Microsoft sites. Xu said the company is optimistic about its AI tools and that customers are seeing a positive impact even at this early stage.