So check this out, folks. Microsoft just pulled the plug on Project Airsim, their AI-based drone simulation software. And get this, it was all part of their big plans for an “industrial metaverse.” Insider got the scoop on this.
Now, the team behind Project Airsim got a surprise calendar invite for a “team update” meeting. Little did they know, it was bad news. They were told that the whole team would be laid off and the project would be discontinued. Ouch!
But hey, Microsoft ain’t leaving us hanging completely. They did mention that they’ll keep investing in Azure, their computing platform for this industrial metaverse thing, and other AI projects within the company. So at least there’s that.
And it’s not just Airsim, folks. Microsoft also stopped supporting Project Bonsai a while back. Bonsai was their AI development platform for building autonomous systems. Both of these projects were part of their so-called “industrial metaverse.”
You know what’s interesting? Microsoft actually acquired Bonsai, an AI startup, back in 2018. It was supposed to be their answer to Google’s Deepmind acquisition. But looks like it didn’t quite take off as they expected.
Project Airsim was originally an open-source project in 2017, but they shifted gears and turned it into a product for industrial customers. It’s a shame it didn’t work out as they had hoped.
Now, these projects were all under the watchful eye of Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Scott. He’s the guy who brokered their partnership with OpenAI. They were trying to bring in industrial customers to use Microsoft’s cloud, you know, to compete with Amazon Web Services.
But here’s the kicker, Scott started losing interest in these projects as Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI gained more steam. It happens, priorities shift, I guess.
Fast forward to 2023, Microsoft announced this big extended partnership with OpenAI and at the same time, they were hyping up their grand vision for the industrial metaverse. Sounds exciting, right? Well, it didn’t last long. By spring, the project was canned, and the whole team got axed. Talk about a rollercoaster ride.
Apparently, Microsoft held on to Project Airsim because they thought there would be big customers down the line. But I guess they lost faith in it eventually.
Oh, and by the way, Gurdeep Pall, the head honcho who was in charge of these projects, left the company after 33 years. So there’s been some high-profile departures associated with all this.
It seems like Microsoft is really putting their eggs in the OpenAI basket, folks. They’ve been shifting resources, killing off experimental products like their Surface headphones, all in the name of investing in AI. These guys are really going all-in.
If any of you out there happen to be Microsoft employees with some juicy insider info, feel free to share! You can hit up reporter Ashley Stewart on the encrypted messaging app Signal, or drop her an email. She’s got her finger on the pulse of all things Microsoft. Stay in the know, folks!