Microsoft is making ChatGPT available in its own Azure OpenAI service today. Developers and businesses will now be able to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT model into their own cloud apps, enabling conversational AI in many more apps and services.
Businesses could use ChatGPT to power custom chatbots to handle queries from customers, provide summaries of conversations, help automate emails, and much more.
Microsoft says Azure OpenAI users can start to access a preview of ChatGPT today, with pricing set at $0.002 for 1,000 tokens. Billing for all ChatGPT usage starts on March 13th as part of Azure OpenAI. Developers will need to apply for special access, as the Azure OpenAI Service requires registration and is “currently only available to Microsoft managed customers and partners.”
Microsoft’s cloud service also features a number of other AI models from OpenAI, including GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL-E. Microsoft combines tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E with Azure data handling, management, and scaling. The software maker uses Azure OpenAI to power GitHub Copilot, Power BI, Microsoft Teams Premium, Viva Sales, and Microsoft’s new Bing chatbot.
Microsoft has a head start in the AI race after the company purchased an exclusive license to the underlying technology behind GPT-3 in 2020 following a $1 billion investment in OpenAI in 2019. It has built a deep relationship with OpenAI ever since and recently extended its partnership in a “multibillion dollar investment” that makes Microsoft the exclusive cloud provider for OpenAI.
As startups and businesses rush to integrate AI features into their apps and services, rivals like Amazon are reportedly struggling to keep up. In the latest Command Line newsletter, Verge editor Alex Heath has been hearing that “AWS doesn’t have enough compute capacity to meet the demand from startups launching AI features.”
We’re about to find out if Microsoft has the capacity to meet demand from businesses scrambling to integrate generative AI features. Microsoft is already rapidly commercializing OpenAI’s models and has integrated a next-generation version of technology that powers ChatGPT into its Bing search engine and Edge browser.
The next stage of Microsoft’s AI push will be detailed next week. Microsoft is holding a special event where it plans to announce “the future of work with AI” and demonstrate how its ChatGPT-like AI will work in Office apps. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and head of Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro will hold an event on March 16th at 8AM PT / 11AM ET.