A new version of Meta Platforms’ AI language model will be made available to businesses for the first time thanks to a collaboration between the two tech behemoths and Microsoft.
Developers creating applications on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform will be able to use the free Meta AI model, named Llama 2, the firms announced on Tuesday. The social network company hadn’t made an earlier version of Llama available for commercial usage; instead, it had been given to researchers and then disclosed in an online forum.
In a test of how much people will pay for AI capabilities, Microsoft also revealed on Tuesday that it will charge businesses $30 per employee per month for access to an AI-powered assistant for Microsoft 365, its well-known office suite that includes Word and Excel. The cost is more than twice what Microsoft already charges for the most affordable edition of the productivity software, demonstrating the value the tech giant places on its AI initiatives.
Microsoft’s shares rose 4% on Tuesday to a record high of $359.49, contributing to an increase in key market indices. This year, the stock has increased 50%. The price of Meta’s stock decreased by around 0.5%.
Llama 2 is being made available by Meta as “open source” software, which is generally distributed for free for anyone to use, alter, and distribute. The corporation was at the epicentre of a lively, though unchecked, increase in AI software development as a result of the earlier disclosure.
With the launch of Llama 2, there will be more competition for-profit models like the GPT-4 system created by OpenAI, the startup that produced the well-known chatbot ChatGPT.
According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Open source drives innovation because it empowers many more developers to build with new technology.”
Microsoft is demonstrating its desire to expand beyond ChatGPT provider OpenAI as its AI platform of choice by making Llama 2 available to Azure users. Despite Microsoft’s massive investment in OpenAI, other cloud service providers like Amazon and Google are increasingly positioning themselves as neutral marketplaces where developers may choose from a variety of generative AI models from various manufacturers.
When Meta said two months ago that it had no plans to make its model commercially available, Llama 2 marked a turning point for the company. Entrepreneurs and activists launched a campaign to encourage Meta to change its position or “Free the LLaMA.” The corporation is making a number of efforts to advance generative AI after falling behind, including this new model.
A major component of Microsoft’s efforts to update its software offerings around generative AI is the company’s separate price announcement for Copilot, which is driven by OpenAI’s technology. Tasks like summarising emails in Outlook, converting a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation, or examining sales data in an Excel spreadsheet will all be things that Copilot will be able to handle.
Copilot for Microsoft 365 was initially announced by the firm in March, but no pricing or anticipated release date were provided. Although it has been testing the tool with a number of significant firms, Microsoft has yet to announce a timetable for when it will make Copilot generally available.
Microsoft rebranded the company as being at the forefront of the AI boom by investing more than $10 billion in OpenAI and integrating a chatbot software version into its Bing search engine. The business hasn’t fully described how it intends to monetize the technology. The use of ChatGPT, which is housed on the cloud computing platform, as well as other instances of generative AI driving business to Azure were mentioned by Microsoft executives in their most recent earnings call.
Copilot’s widespread rollout will demonstrate how many consumers are prepared to pay for generative AI. Salesforce, a rival of Microsoft in the enterprise software market, also revealed the cost of its collection of generative AI tools last month.
The AI-powered chatbot Bing Chat Enterprise will be made available to many of its Microsoft 365 business clients, according to Microsoft. If a business is not a customer, the company stated it will charge $5 per user per month for access to Bing Chat Enterprise.
The chat tool guarantees users that the information they enter won’t be visible to individuals outside the firm and functions similarly to ChatGPT, summarising text and generating replies to queries.
These security assurances are a reaction to client worries about the security of their data. Companies like Apple have recently issued warnings to staff members not to use programmes like ChatGPT at work for concern that they would leak sensitive information.