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Amazon to invest up to $4 billion for minority stake in AI startup Anthropic

E-commerce giant Amazon.com Monday said it has agreed to invest as much as $4 billion in Anthropic, an AI startup, for a minority stake, in an effort to become a major player in generative artificial intelligence, reported Bloomberg.

The report said beside a financial infusion, the Anthropic will get access to Amazon’s computing power. The startup will move most of its software to Amazon Web Services centers, and use the AWS homegrown chips to train the models it uses to power chatbots and other applications. 

Amazon’s engineers, including those who work outside of AWS, will have access to Anthropic’s models, the report said.

“Amazon’s $4 billion investment in AI startup Anthropic may not move the financial needle for its cloud-services unit in the near term, but shows that it’s taking Microsoft’s perceived AI leadership seriously,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Poonam Goyal said.

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The deal also boots Amazon’s in-house chipmaking effort, which includes processors called Trainium and Inferentia designed to power machine-learning applications. Anthropic will use AWS chips to build and train future foundational models, the report said.

“We have tremendous respect for Anthropic’s team and foundation models, and believe we can help improve many customer experiences, short- and long-term, through our deeper collaboration,” Amazon chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said in a statement. 

“Customers are quite excited about Amazon Bedrock, AWS’s new managed service that enables companies to use various foundation models to build generative AI applications on top of, as well as AWS Trainium, AWS’s AI training chip, and our collaboration with Anthropic should help customers get even more value from these two capabilities,” he added.

Anthropic, founded by OpenAI veterans, has raised more than $1 billion to date with a pitch to make a safer kind of chatbot for such tasks as summarizing, searching, answering questions and coding. The company’s backers include Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which invested almost $400 million in Anthropic, Bloomberg reported in February. 

“By significantly expanding our partnership, we can unlock new possibilities for organizations of all sizes, as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems together with AWS’s leading cloud technology,” Bloomberg reported Anthropic co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei as saying

Amazon shares rose less than 1% as the market opened in New York.

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Updated: 25 Sep 2023, 08:51 PM IST

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