Microsoft looks to tighten ties with OpenAI through potential $10B investment and new integrations – GeekWire


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman at the Microsoft campus on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures for Microsoft)

A potential $10 billion investment by Microsoft in OpenAI would strengthen the tech giant’s partnership with the ChatGPT maker as it eyes new integrations that leverage breakthroughs from the AI powerhouse.

The possible deal, currently the subject of negotiations between the companies, would value OpenAI at $29 billion, with the possibility of Microsoft receiving 75% of OpenAI’s profits until it recoups its investment, according to a report Monday by Semafor, citing unnamed sources.

Microsoft, which previously invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019, would end up with a 49% stake in the San Francisco-based company, Semafor reported. Other investors would also participate in the new funding round.

Bloomberg News confirmed the negotiations, also citing anonymous sources. The news service reported that the current plan calls for Microsoft to make the investment over multiple years, but noted that the terms are not final.

The news comes as Microsoft reportedly looks to integrate OpenAI technologies into more of its products, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook, according to a report Jan. 7 by The Information. The site previously reported that Microsoft is seeking to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT into its Bing search engine.

The emergence of ChatGPT has sparked widespread attention in recent weeks, illustrating the benefits and risks of generative artificial intelligence. The technology gives sophisticated answers and responses to complex and at-times esoteric user prompts, although its accuracy has also come into question in some situations.

OpenAI has benefitted from Microsoft’s computing resources and cloud technology in training its AI models, including an Azure supercomputer announced in 2020 for OpenAI’s exclusive use.

Existing integrations of OpenAI technology in Microsoft products include the GitHub Copilot feature, which gives software developers a virtual AI pair programmer to suggest code and functions as they write programs.

Microsoft could ultimately use a similar approach for professionals in finance, retail, or other industries, said journalist Mary Jo Foley, editor-in-chief at, speaking on the GeekWire Podcast.

“Microsoft has said this kind of technology could go to any industry,” she said. “It’s not just for programming.”

Microsoft reported a balance of more than $107 billion in cash and short-term investments as of Sept. 30. The company’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard would be an all-cash deal if Microsoft is able to overcome FTC opposition to complete the purchase of the gaming giant later this year.


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