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Microsoft announces partnership with Mistral AI

Mistral’s new flagship language model with Microsoft, Mistral Large, available on Azure and Mistral Platform, is not open source.

Microsoft has announced a new multiyear partnership with French AI startup, Mistral AI. Microsoft stated in a press release that the partnership aims to provide Mistral AI with infrastructure from Microsoft’s Azure AI to develop the next generation of large language models (LLMs). The new models will also be available for use on the Azure AI platform, which provides various AI services, including OpenAI’s GPT-4. Furthermore, this allows Mistral to explore new commercial opportunities since they can promote, sell, and distribute their models to Microsoft’s customers through Models as a Service (MaaS). Microsoft will also partner in research and development, notably sharing plans for “training purpose-specific models for select customers, including European public sector workloads.”

In 2019, Microsoft similarly partnered with ChatGPT creator, OpenAI to make its models available on AzureAI, they extended this deal further in 2023. This move has now drawn attention from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the European Commission, leading to inquiries on Microsoft harming competition. When Microsoft were asked if the deal with Mistral was penned to quell competition scrutiny by CNBC, Microsoft President Brad Smith pushed back saying “It’s important for us to show that this isn’t just about Microsoft technology, it’s not just about American products. This is going to be an engine for technology, innovation and growth in Europe as well.” However, a spokesperson from the European Commission said that the EU would be looking to investigate the Microsoft and Mistral partnership due to concerns of competition.

Who are Mistral AI ?

Mistral AI is considered by some as Europe’s version of OpenAI. In December, its valuation was near $2 billion, according to Bloomberg. Due to Mistral being open-source, its models are freely available for commercial use, making it a highly popular AI model for developers along with Meta’s Llama 2, which is another popular open-source model. However, Mistral’s new flagship language model with Microsoft, Mistral Large, available on Azure and Mistral Platform, is not open source. According to Mistral AI, “Mistral Large achieves strong results on commonly used benchmarks, making it the world’s second-ranked model generally available through an API (next to GPT-4).”

On the day of the announcement of their partnership with Microsoft, Mistral also introduced a new AI chatbot of its own called Le Chat.

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