Microsoft’s investment in the AI space for businesses
Microsoft has been on a thought leadership bend over the last few years. AI has been on their radar for several years now, and they’ve been making bold moves in order to create new advancements in their existing B2B ecosystem. They’ve established long standing infrastructural capabilities over decades and are now enabling them to reach AI’s potential. Businesses working with Microsoft can have a dedicated partner that understands the impact that they can bring to industry collectively.
Microsoft is in a position to strengthen their holdings through acquisitions and research. They’re leveraging scale, focus and their team to create new avenues in the AI space. They’re also able to produce results much quicker than the competition owing to the fact that they’re able to leverage AI better.
Strategic investments in startups
Through M12, Microsoft is aiming to strengthen its commitment to enhancing AI for businesses in the future. They’re partnered with leading innovators including Voicera and Whitesource to straddle the future of AI in the industrial ecosystem. It’s made close to 20 acquisitions and investments over several years.
One of the strongest measures of Microsoft’s push for AI comes in the form of strategic investments. They’re not buying companies as aggressively as they used to and are now focusing on acquiring key AI startups including Element AI, CrowdFlower, Agolo and Bonsai among others. These startups are working in AI, machine learning and neural networking mapping along with innovating for the future.
Microsoft’s primary objective with these startups can be summarizes best as – market testing. Microsoft works well on scale and doesn’t want to experiment too much on smaller bets. Sometimes an AI application can work out, and other times it may not. That depends on how well the technology fits in with the existing business model of the firm.
That’s where Microsoft comes in, with it’s generations of infrastructure and scale. Microsoft is preparing for the AI future as it sees competition from nearly every tech giant out there. From Google to Spotify, every company is leveraging AI in some way shape or form. Microsoft is going full steam ahead but wants to do it in a controlled manner. They want to run experiments via strategic investments to see scope and strength in the technologies being produced.
Partnerships with market leaders
Microsoft has been partnering with some of the leading companies in the world to create better AI interfaces and systems. They’ve been developing cutting-edge innovations and investing in new startups that need capital. They’re doing this through strategic partnerships with industry leaders so that they can leverage all the knowledge it has.
Partnering with Intel on various acquisitions and investments has made it stronger in the AI space than before. Microsoft has existing relations with Intel, and it makes sense to extend that to the AI space. Partnerships have been increasingly successful for companies like Microsoft that want to obtain as many insights as possible for it’s product solutions.
When it comes to scaling AI, Microsoft has partnered with C3 IoT to create sustainable solutions for businesses that want to scale AI better. Through this partnership, they’re able to develop long-term PaaS products that businesses can leverage to solve challenges. Everything from predictive maintenance to precision healthcare and CRM are on the table when it comes to the new partnership.
Consumer AI – Cortana
Microsoft is also making strategic investments and acquisitions in the consumer space as well. It wants to enhance Cortana’s capabilities beyond current standards. Microsoft wants Cortana to be the preferred voice companion so that users can interact better with the computing device they have.
Consumer AI has been a long-standing desire for Microsoft, who wants to enter the B2C space to compete with other giants. Microsoft already owns much of the personal computing market, but its scope is limited beyond that in the consumer space. With Google and Apple taking up the smart-ecosystem space, Microsoft wants to push Cortana to become a leader in the AI space.
It’s just acquired the conversational AI company Semantic Machines to enhance Cortana’s abilities in the space. It wants to create scalable solutions in the voice and search space, so that Cortana can learn more about the context of each verbal query. After Google demonstrated its widely cherished Google Duplex service, Microsoft wants to be aggressive in acquiring voice-based startups as well.
Thought leadership – Education, events & communication
Microsoft is also making taking thought leadership to another level, when it comes to AI and new technologies. Through effective thought leadership, Microsoft is able to conduct large scale experiments within it’s developer eco-system. It can offer AI based solutions to existing developers who can write code to enhance their own solutions based on it.
Education is a key area where Microsoft is putting a lot of it’s attention. The company is investing in training programs and partnering with centres that develop young AI talent. Microsoft wants to be the premier partner in the space, and it wants more input in the talent development department as well. Microsoft also offers a myriad of courses in the space of AI, tackling the deep research needed to power much of it’s systems.
The company also organizes many AI based events to attract investors, developers and companies from across the world. These companies learn more about Microsoft’s AI programs and analyse how they can leverage Microsoft’s big investments. Microsoft has taken the helm when it comes to leading in the AI space through and through.
Finally, communication is key for Microsoft. Whether that’s blogs or articles in online mediums, communication is a large metric that Microsoft wants to perfect. Whether that’s online publication for CEO Satya, or representatives working in individual research centres, Microsoft wants to stay on top of the industry’s thinking.
The company has also made significant investments in producing and distributing it’s AI enabled content across online mediums so that it can reach a large portion of the developer community online.
*The views and opinion published in this article are purely from the author’s observation and understanding.
Working as a Pre-sales Consultant at Altimetrik, Priyavrat is deep into market research and analysis of Divestiture, JVs, Mergers & Acquisitions. With more than a decade of core IT experience, his technology interests have evolved around CRM, Data Sciences, Analytics, ML & AI.
Beyond work, Priyavrat is interested in history, historical places, tourism and travel.