Microsoft to invest 3 billion euros into AI development in Germany

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Big Tech giant Microsoft is set to invest 3.2 billion euros ($3.44 billion) into Germany in the next two years, primarily focusing on boosting its infrastructure for artificial intelligence (AI). 

The funding announcement was made by the company’s president and vice chairman, Brad Smith, on Feb. 15 at an event held in Berlin about its future engagement plans for AI and cloud development in the country.

Microsoft will focus on building new data centers in the country and training people in developing AI skills. According to a report from Reuters, it is the most significant investment in Germany by Microsoft in 40 years.

Europe is proving to be fertile ground for investment from major technology developers. On the same day, the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty of France released a statement revealing Google’s plans to set up a new AI-dedicated hub in the country.

According to the announcement, the center will be based in Paris and house nearly 300 researchers and engineers to support the country’s AI ambitions. 

This announcement comes only a few days after Google announced its “AI Opportunity Initiative for Europe” on Feb. 12. Through the scheme, Google said it would be investing 25 million euros ($26.9 million) in support of skills training for Europeans in the AI sector. 

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Google said it is working alongside governments in the European Union, along with civil society, academics and businesses, to offer AI training to local startups, with 10 million euros targeting workers who will need such skills to avoid “being left behind.”

The Italian government introduced a similar initiative in 2023, through which it said it would be putting aside millions of euros to develop the digital skills of workers who risk losing their jobs due to automation and AI. 

These investments in European AI infrastructure and skills come as members of the European Parliament prepare to set forth the European Union’s landmark AI Act. On Feb. 13, regulators approved the preliminary agreement for the legislation, with a parliamentary vote scheduled for April.

The EU AI Act would be one of the world’s first set of rules to monitor the development and deployment of AI, second only to China, which released its own set of rules on the technology in August 2023.

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