Microsoft, Amazon Commit to Expanding Operations in France

France has been pursuing Big Tech and Microsoft and Amazon are among the first to express interest. Microsoft has committed $4.3 billion to expand cloud and AI infrastructure there, sharing plans to bring as many as 25,000 advanced GPUs to France by the close of 2025. The software giant will also train one million people for AI and data jobs while supporting 2,500 AI startups over the next three years. Meanwhile, Amazon announced that it would invest up to $1.3 billion to expand its existing footprint of 35 logistics facilities in the country. The deals were announced Monday during the Choose France summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“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,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement that goes on to describe how the company’s infrastructure will operate under the AI Access Principles published in February.

The French investment includes a new data center operationalized in the French city of Mulhouse, according to CNBC, which reports the current spend is part of “a charm offensive” after “French officials have expressed concerns with the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant’s investment in AI startup Mistral,” headquartered in Paris.

In February, Microsoft invested $16 million in Mistral, which develops open-source AI models available for research and commercial use under the Apache 2.0 license. In March, the Mistral models were added to Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

Also in February, Microsoft announced a $5.6 billion investment in AI data center expansion in Germany and Spain.

As for Amazon, its French cash infusion “is set to create more than 3,000 permanent jobs in the country across various sectors, on top of the 2,000 roles that the company had announced recently,” TechRadar notes.

Amazon France Manager Frédéric Duval explained in a news post that the company has been the largest net creator of French jobs since 2010.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s investment in the AWS cloud infrastructure will help meet escalating demand in France, where the company says local demand for cloud computing and AI service grew by 35 percent last year, citing a report undertaken with UK advisory Strand Partners.

Overall, during the seventh iteration of Choose France the country “bagged $16.2 billion in investments from multinational companies ranging from tech to pharmaceuticals, helping bolster its business landscape,” according to Fortune (via Yahoo Finance).

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