Microsoft will spend £2.5bn ($3.2bn) over the next three years to boost the UK’s artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure, the tech giant announced today (30 November).
The investment marks the largest financial pledge taken by Microsoft in the UK ever since it began operations in the country 40 years ago.
The UK government said in a statement that it will “meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI-specific compute power”.
Through the investment, Microsoft will expand its “next generation AI datacentre infrastructure” in the UK and bring more than 20,000 of the most advanced GPUs to the country by 2026.
“Microsoft is committed as a company to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading AI infrastructure, easy access to the skills people need, and broad protections for safety and security,” said the company’s Vice Chair and President Brad Smith.
News of the investment comes following the UK’s hosting of the Global Investment Summit on Monday (27 November). UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed a new era of foreign investment and unveiled a £29.5bn injection into tech, life sciences, renewables, housing and infrastructure. Sunak said Microsoft’s latest round of investment marks a “turning point for the future of AI infrastructure and development in the UK.”
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Clare Barclay, Microsoft’s UK branch CEO, added: “As business and the public sector embrace the AI opportunity, we are building the infrastructure that will support the growth they need, training the people who can deliver it responsibly and securing our society against emergent threats.”
The AI sector contributes £3.7bn to the UK economy, with 50,000 people employed nationwide.