Microsoft might be aiming to buy Mistral AI

February 29, 2024 by
Frank Calviño

Microsoft might be aiming to buy Mistral AI, the French OpenAI competitor. Following its investment of more than 13 billion dollars (about 11.975 million euros) in OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, the technology company has announced a multi-year agreement with the French startup Mistral AI to cooperate in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and accelerate its growth in this sector.

Specifically, as the two companies explained in a joint statement, the agreement will allow Mistral to offer its Mistral Large AI model to Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform - where ChatGPT is already hosted - enabling it to "accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation of large language models (LLMs)."

"We are delighted to embark on this partnership with Microsoft. With Azure's cutting-edge AI infrastructure, we reach a new milestone in our expansion to drive our innovative research and practical applications to new customers worldwide. Together, we are committed to driving impactful progress in the AI industry and delivering unparalleled value to our customers and partners worldwide," said Arthur Mensch, CEO of Mistral AI.

The french connection: Azure AI 

The French company will use Azure AI's compute infrastructure to train and deliver models through the Azure Studio and Azure Machine Learning catalog. In addition, Microsoft and Mistral AI will also explore collaboration around specific training models for selected customers, including the European public sector.

Almost simultaneously, the French startup also announced the launch of its own chatbot, Le Chat, in an obvious nod to ChatGPT. For now, Mistral AI has detailed that this is a beta version, clarifying that "there could be peculiarities".

Access to the service is free (for now), and users can choose between three different models: Mistral Small, Large, or Next. However, the company also plans to launch a paid chatbot version for enterprise customers.

Mistral AI was founded in 2023 by researchers coming from Google DeepMind and Meta and is based in Paris. The company has quickly managed to become one of the top-rated AI companies in the world. According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, it is currently valued at around $2 billion (€1,842.9 million).

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