Microsoft Invests $4B in French AI, Cloud Infrastructure Expansion

Microsoft plans to invest in new data centers and AI training programs to upskill 1 million people by 2027

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

May 16, 2024

3 Min Read
Two men stood on a stage laughing manically
From left: French President Emmanuel Macron and Microsoft president Brad SmithTHIBAULT CAMUS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft is continuing its global investment efforts, revealing plans to spend $4 billion in France to enhance the country’s cloud and AI infrastructures.

After unveiling spending plans in Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan, Microsoft has now turned its attention to Europe’s second-largest economy.

To support its AI offerings in the country, Microsoft announced expansions of its data center sites in Paris and Marseille.

It will also build a new data center in Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération in the Grand Est region near the German and Swiss borders, around five hours from Paris.

Microsoft said the infrastructure expansions will enable it to meet France’s growing demand for AI compute. To support its efforts, the company plans to bring 25,000 GPUs to the country by the end of 2025.

“With this major project, the Grand Est region is making Alsace a benchmark region for AI in France and Europe,” said Franck Leroy, the Conseil régional du Grand-Est’s president. “This unique project, benefiting from a technological first, will strengthen the competitiveness of our regions and businesses, while guaranteeing the security of their data. It is also a major project of national and European interest.”

The investment news was announced during the Choose France summit, the French government’s annual event to entice companies to bring their business to the country.

Related:Microsoft Invests $2.2B to Bring AI, Cloud Technologies to Malaysia

Microsoft also announced plans to support AI skilling for one million French citizens by the end of 2027.

Its skill-focused efforts include expanding its A Vous l’IA project, which provides job seekers with technology and AI skills, including how to use generative AI to aid their job search.

It’s also teaming up with French education technology company Kokoroe to develop AI-focused training modules for non-technical people.

Microsoft is also working with Simplon to create GenIAles, a series of in-person workshops to support women accessing digital tech jobs.

Microsoft’s French investment will also include providing support for local startups.

With plans to engage with more than 2,500 French startups by 2027, Microsoft will provide access to its GenAI Studio, a program providing startups with access to expertise, cloud credits and support.

GenAI Studio will also be turned into a four-month training program that will run twice a year, providing startups with technical workshops and access to Microsoft AI experts.

Participating startups will hope to follow in the footsteps of France’s most successful AI startup, Mistral AI after Microsoft bought a stake in the startup back in February.

Related:Microsoft Highlights Responsible AI Efforts in New Report

“This major investment demonstrates a steadfast commitment to supporting digital innovation and economic growth in France,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president. “We are building state-of-the-art cloud and AI infrastructure, training people with AI skills and supporting French startups as they use our technology with confidence to grow in a fair and responsible way.”

“We are proud to announce today a historic investment in France,” said Corine de Bilbao, Microsoft France’s corporate vice president. “Through state-of-the-art cloud and AI infrastructure, a major training plan for the French and renewed support for startups in the hexagon, we are pursuing our commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth.”

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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