The generative AI race is seeping into the chip industry as startups like OpenAI and Anthropic are using billions from Microsoft and Amazon to fulfill their AI infrastructure needs.
The AI wars spurred on by the popularity of generative AI is seeping into the semiconductor market as the world’s hottest startups are now looking to make their own AI chips in-house.
This expensive R&D chip-making process is being made possible thanks to massive amounts of funding from some of the largest IT companies on the planet, such as Microsoft and Amazon, who are investing billions into AI startups like Anthropic and OpenAI.
OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, is now seeking to make its own artificial intelligence chips and is potentially looking to acquire a company in order to do so, according to a report by Reuters.
[Related: Amazon-Anthropic Vs. Microsoft-OpenAI: What’s The Difference?]
OpenAI’s options include: an acquisition to build its own AI chip, partnering closely with chipmakers like Nvidia, or expanding its suppliers beyond Nvidia, Reuters said, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.
San Francisco-based OpenAI has not yet decided to pull the trigger on anything yet. OpenAI did not respond for comment by press time.
The startup is seeking to find a solution to the shortage of high-priced AI chips that OpenAI relies on to power its offerings such as ChatGPT and GPT-4.
Microsoft Pouring Billions Into OpenAI
Microsoft has invested around $13 billion overall in OpenAI over the past few years, including a massive $10 billion investment in January.
OpenAI has developed its generative AI solutions on a large supercomputer constructed by Microsoft, which leverages thousands of Nvidia GPUs.
The software giant continues to extend its ongoing collaboration with OpenAI across AI and supercomputing and enables both companies to commercialize the resulting advanced AI technologies. Microsoft’s investment includes supercomputing at scale in the “development and deployment of specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate OpenAI’s groundbreaking independent AI research,” the company said.
Amazon Invests Billions In Anthropic
While Microsoft was arguably ahead of the AI curve when it came to generative AI, such as with the launch of ChapGPT, Amazon has strived in 2023 to level the playing field.
This year, Amazon has launched a slew of new generative AI services, vendor partnerships and channel programs to drive AI into the market via its cloud computing business Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Simliarly to how Microsoft picked its AI bet with OpenAI, Amazon picked startup Anthropic as its bet to win the AI race. Interestingly, Anthropic was founded by former OpenAI executives including Anthropic co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei.
Just last week, Amazon pledged to invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic with bold plans ranging from shaking up the chip industry to innovating alongside the startup. Amazon will own a minority position in Anthropic.
“Anthropic will have access to very significant quantities of compute, which will have Trainium and Inferentia in them,” said AWS CEO Adam Selipsky last week. “So yes, that’s one of many reasons why we continue to ramp up and to provide a very robust AWS controlled supply chain for AI chips.”
This means Amazon-Anthropic and Microsoft-OpenAI both have the ultimate goal of building their own AI chip manufacturing businesses.