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Ignite 2021: Microsoft Announces Azure OpenAI Service


At Ignite 2021 today, Microsoft announced a new collaboration with OpenAI with its Azure cloud platform. Called Azure OpenAI Service, the new tool will allow Azure customers to access OpenAI’s GPT-3 API.

Microsoft points out Azure OpenAI Service is launching as an invite only platform for the time being. It is available as an Azure Cognitive Service, adding, OpenAI GPT-3 security, compliance, reliability, models, and other enterprise abilities.

Of course, Microsoft already has a close relationship with OpenAI. In May, the company launched a Power Fx ability for translating natural language queries into code. This was the first time Microsoft has used GPT-3 following entering an exclusive license of the API with OpenAI.

Microsoft was also a $1 billion investor in OpenAI, which allowed Azure to power all cloud services from the open source AI provider. The relationship has stirred plenty of controversy, including from Elon Musk, who was a co-founder of OpenAI.

Musk and others argued Microsoft paying for an exclusive deal means the GPT-3 model is not really open at all. Microsoft countered by saying the model is still available to anyone via the API. Either way, there are plenty of detractors to Microsoft’s collaborations with OpenAI.

Moving Forward

Still, at Ignite 2021, the companies showed they are undeterred by the criticism. Looking at Azure OpenAI Service, it leverages GPT-3 with Azure. If you are unfamiliar with the GPT-3, it is an autoregressive language model that is seen as a game changing technology.

It is capable of converting natural language into direct software code, and can take large text blocks and summarize them with answers to questions. Eric Boyd, Microsoft corporate vice president for Azure AI says the potential of GPT-3 is not close to being realized.

“We are just in the beginning stages of figuring out what the power and potential of GPT-3, which is what makes it so interesting.”

Azure OpenAI Service will allow Microsoft’s cloud customers to access new ways to gain outputs that are best for their business. It will provide additional security, management, and networking over the standard GPT-3 API.

Last Updated on February 23, 2023 1:47 pm CET by Markus Kasanmascheff

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.