Amazon Is Spending $100 Million to Teach Cloud Customers About AI

The goal is to help sell more cloud services, convincing clients to turn to AWS as they build new generative AI applications rather than Microsoft’s Azure or Google Cloud.

Bloomberg News

June 22, 2023

2 Min Read
blue lit up AWS logo at event

(Bloomberg) -- Inc.’s cloud unit is building a program to help customers develop and deploy new kinds of artificial intelligence products as the biggest seller of cloud services tries to match Microsoft and Google in the market for so-called generative AI.

Amazon Web Services is investing $100 million to set up the AWS Generative AI Innovation Center, which will link customers with company experts in AI and machine learning. They’ll help a range of clients in health care, financial services and manufacturing build customized applications using the new technology.  Highspot Inc. and Twilio Inc., which sell sales and marketing software, will be early users of the innovation center, Amazon said.

The goal is to help sell more cloud services, convincing clients to turn to AWS as they build new generative AI applications rather than Microsoft Corp.’s Azure, which has seized an early lead owing to its partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI, or Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which pioneered much of the early technology underpinning this new frontier.

“We will bring our internal AWS experts free-of-charge to a whole bunch of AWS customers, focusing on folks with significant AWS presence, and go help them turbocharge their efforts to get real with generative AI, get beyond the talk,” AWS Chief Executive Officer Adam Selipsky said Thursday at Bloomberg’s technology conference in San Francisco.

Amazon unveiled its own generative AI tools earlier this year, but longtime employees and customers deemed the announcement uncharacteristically vague, Bloomberg reported in May. One customer who tested the tools awarded the technology an “incomplete” grade, while people familiar with AWS product launches wondered if Amazon released the AI tools to counter perceptions it has fallen behind Microsoft and Google.

Amazon has denied its generative AI tools were rushed or incomplete and said the technology is ready for customers to test and provide feedback. Asked about Amazon’s position in the AI race, Selipsky said: “Are we really going to have a conversation about three steps into a 10k race? Amazon has always taken a much more long-term view of the world than any other company.”

With the viral releases of OpenAI’s Dall-E image-generation software and the ChatGPT chatbot over the past year, companies are rushing to incorporate the technology into their products and services, and the cloud giants are positioning themselves to cash in. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mandeep Singh estimates the market for generative AI, in which AI models analyze volumes of data and use it to generate new images, texts, audio and video, could grow by 42% to reach $1.3 trillion by 2032.

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