Microsoft signs an agreement with the French Mistral AI, a rival of OpenAI which has its own chatbot

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Microsoft announced an artificial intelligence partnership with French startup Mistral AI on Monday that could reduce the software giant’s reliance on ChatGPT creator OpenAI to deliver the next wave of chatbots and other AI products. Generative AI.

Mistral AI appeared less than a year ago, but is already what Microsoft described Monday as an “innovator and pioneer” at the forefront of building more efficient and cost-effective AI systems.

Microsoft and Mistral did not disclose financial terms of the deal, although Microsoft said it was a small investment in the Paris-based startup. That suggests it is far smaller than Microsoft’s billion-dollar investment in OpenAI, a years-long relationship that has attracted the attention of antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe.

Mistral also released a public test version of its own chatbot, called Le Chat, on Monday, which apparently generated so much interest that a company executive said it was temporarily unavailable for part of Monday.

The company also announced its new large language model, Mistral Large, which it says is in the same category as competitors such as OpenAI’s GPT-4, Anthropic’s Claude 2 and Google’s Gemini Pro and will be available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. Mistral also previously announced that it is partnering with other major cloud providers, including Amazon and Google.

Mistral made a splash by attracting significant investor funds to give it a multibillion-dollar valuation just months after its founding last spring. Its “open source” approach to AI development means it publicly releases key components of its models, unlike companies like OpenAI which guard them closely.

It was launched by three former French Google and Meta researchers: CEO Arthur Mensch, chief scientist Guillaume Lampe and chief technology officer Timothee Lacroix.

When the European Union was finalizing its Artificial Intelligence Act, a comprehensive set of AI regulations, last fall, Mistral opposed efforts to place restrictions on the basic models that power generative AI systems. Mensch said on social media that EU proposals for a two-tier system would discourage innovative new entrants.

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