Tech giant Meta and Microsoft have joined forces to offer businesses a new artificial intelligence software solution.
Microsoft will release a commercial version of Meta’s AI language model, Llama 2, free and available to developers on Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform.
Previously, Meta had only released an earlier version of Llama to academics, but it was leaked online.
Microsoft would charge businesses $30 per user monthly for an AI-powered assistant in its Microsoft 365 software suite, a test of how much consumers will pay for AI tools.
The release of Llama 2 as open-source software aims to stimulate innovation and wider adoption among developers.
The move puts Meta in direct competition with other commercial models, such as OpenAI’s GPT-4 system.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “Open source drives innovation because it enables many more developers to build with new technology.”
“It also improves safety and security because when software is open, more people can scrutinize it to identify and fix potential issues.”
By offering Llama 2 on Azure, Microsoft demonstrates its readiness to expand beyond its partnership with OpenAI.
While Microsoft has invested heavily in OpenAI, other cloud-computing providers like Amazon and Google promote themselves as neutral platforms supporting various generative AI models from different companies.
This announcement represents a shift for Meta, which initially had no plans to offer its model commercially.
However, the company changed its stance due to campaigning and pressure from activists and entrepreneurs.
Meta is taking steps to catch up with its tech rivals in generative AI.
Microsoft’s separate pricing announcement for Copilot, powered by OpenAI’s technology, is part of its broader strategy to revamp its software offerings with generative AI capabilities.
Copilot will enable tasks such as email summarization, document conversion, and data analysis in Microsoft 365 applications.
Microsoft’s extensive investments in OpenAI have positioned the company as a leader in AI, but its full monetization strategy for the technology is yet to be revealed.
The release of Copilot will provide insights into customer willingness to pay for generative AI.
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Salesforce, a competitor in the enterprise software space, recently announced the pricing for its suite of generative AI tools.
In addition, Microsoft plans to introduce Bing Chat Enterprise, an AI-powered chatbot, as an added feature for Microsoft 365 business customers.
The company will charge non-customers $5 per month per user to access Bing Chat Enterprise.
The tool offers similar functionality to ChatGPT, assuring customers of data security and privacy.
These developments reflect the growing importance of AI in business software and the efforts of tech giants to capitalize on its potential.