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Microsoft and OpenAI rival Mistral AI announce partnership

Mistral AI website on a smartphone

Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Microsoft and French AI startup Mistral AI announced Monday (Feb. 26) a multi-year partnership focused on commercializing the startup’s flagship models and scaling up its AI development and deployment.

Mistral AI’s large language models will be available on the tech giant’s Azure AI platform, Microsoft said in a statement, giving the startup more opportunity to promote, sell, and distribute its models to customers around the world. The partnership is also focused on “training purpose-specific models for select customers,” including those in Europe’s public sector, Microsoft added.

Mistral AI CEO Arthur Mensch said in the statement the startup is “thrilled to embark” on its partnership with Microsoft. “With Azure’s cutting-edge AI infrastructure, we are reaching a new milestone in our expansion propelling our innovative research and practical applications to new customers everywhere. Together, we are committed to driving impactful progress in the AI industry and delivering unparalleled value to our customers and partners globally,” he said.

Microsoft will reportedly take a minor stake in Mistral AI, according to the Financial Times. The startup, which is 10 months old, reached a $2 billion valuation after its latest funding round in December.

Mistral AI also announced Monday the release of Mistral Large, its “most advanced language model,” which is available through Azure AI Studio and Azure Machine Learning, and la Plateforme, Mistral AI’s platform in Europe. According to Mistral AI, Mistral Large is second-ranked to OpenAI’s GPT-4 among massive multitask language understanding models that are available through an API.

The partnership marks Microsoft’s second with an LLM upstart, after its “multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment” into ChatGPT-maker OpenAI last year, which is believed to be over $10 billion. Microsoft and OpenAI’s partnership is currently under investigation from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, the UK’s antitrust watchdog, over whether it threatens competition. Scrutiny has also arisen in Brussels, where in January the European Commission announced it would investigate if the partnership would be reviewed under EU merger regulation rules.

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Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.


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