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Microsoft recruits DeepMind co-founder Suleyman to oversee consumer AI effort

Mustafa Suleyman, entrepreneur and co-founder of DeepMind and Inflection AI, talks at the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, Britain, November 1, 2023

March 19 (mod1s) - Microsoft (MSFT.O), opens new tab has chosen DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman as the head of a newly established consumer AI branch and recruited many workers of his Inflection AI firm, attempting to protect its position against mounting competition from Google. 

Suleyman will be CEO of the unit, Microsoft AI, the firm announced on Tuesday, uniting under one roof its consumer AI projects such as its Copilot chatbot and the new Bing browser that incorporates the technology.

The Copilot, designed using technology from ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, is the lynchpin of Microsoft's ambitions to earn cash from its AI initiatives and can compose emails, summarize papers and produce presentations. 

"This infusion of new talent will enable us to accelerate our pace yet again," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated in a blog post. 

"As part of this transition, Mikhail Parakhin and his entire team, including Copilot, Bing, and Edge; and Misha Bilenko and the GenAI team will move to report to Mustafa," he stated.

It comes when Microsoft has been cooperating with other companies like France's Mistral AI against the background of heightened regulatory scrutiny of its tie-up with OpenAI. 

Nadella stated on Tuesday that Microsoft is "very committed" to its OpenAI relationship. 

Karen Simonyan, who co-founded Inflection AI together with Suleyman and Microsoft board member Reid Hoffman, will join as chief scientist. 

Meanwhile, Alphabet's (GOOGL.O), opens new tab Google business is boosting its AI-related initiatives. Bloomberg News claimed on Monday that Apple was in discussions to incorporate Google's Gemini artificial intelligence engine inside the iPhone.

Inflection AI has emerged as one of the most high-flying names in the genAI race after receiving $1.3 billion from Microsoft and Nvidia (NVDA.O), opens new tab in a combination of cash and cloud credit at a value of $4 billion last June. 

The business behind the chatbot Pi announced on Tuesday Sean White, former director of research and development at Mozilla, would be its new CEO and that it intends shift to delivering models to commercial clients, instead of focused on consumers.

It also announced that its Inflection-2.5 would be offered on Microsoft Azure.


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