Amazon-Anthropic Vs. Microsoft-OpenAI: What’s The Difference?

Here’s a look at the difference between Amazon’s plans to invest up to $4 billion in generative AI upstart Anthropic versus Microsoft’s $13 billion overall investment in OpenAI.

Amazon Picks A Generative AI Partner

Amazon Monday said it plans to invest up to $4 billion in generative AI startup Anthropic in a deal that heats up the battle for AI supremacy versus Microsoft.

Amazon announced the minority investment as part of a broader strategic agreement with the two-year-old AI startup founded by former OpenAI executives Dario Amodei and Daniela Amodei.

The Amazon investment comes three years after Microsoft established a relationship with San Francisco-headquartered OpenAI, which makes the wildly popular ChatGPT generative AI platform, and nine months after Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI.

Microsoft’s $10 billion OpenAI investment came on top of an earlier $3 billion investment by the software giant as part of a major Microsoft AI sales offensive.

The Microsoft OpenAI ChatGPT investment resulted in the release last week of M365 Copilot, which for $30 per user, per month adds generative AI to Microsoft Teams, email, files and documents.

[Related: GenAI Race Heats Up: Amazon To Invest Up To $4B In Anthropic]

Anthropic’s Claude 2 product, which was unveiled in July, goes head-to-head against ChatGPT.

“What we are seeing is the early stages of an AI race as to who is going to be able to come up with a monetizable AI product,” said Ethan Simmons, managing partner of cloud consultancy and AWS life sciences solutions superstar Pinnacle Technology Partners (PTP). “Microsoft has done some of that work to get customer-facing revenue with Copilot, while AWS has its Bedrock (fully managed AI) service which is something partners and customers are using to build solutions. The Amazon investment in Anthropic will help create monetizable AI products faster for AWS and its partners.”

The Amazon investment is part of a deeper strategic collaboration that includes a commitment by Anthropic to use AWS’s training chip Trainium and AI accelerator chip Inferentia to build, train and deploy future AI foundation models. In fact, AWS and Anthropic said they will work together on future Trainium and Inferentia technology.

Anthropic said it is also making a long term commitment to provide AWS customers access to future generations of its AI foundation models through Bedrock.

“What we are seeing is the big technology companies acquiring AI Monopoly real estate to be able to better position their companies to take advantage of what AI is going to be in the future,” said Bob Venero, CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Future Tech Enterprise – No. 76 on the SP500. “There is an AI enablement race taking place in the technology solutions market. This could potentially be more disruptive than anything I have seen in 27 years in the technology solutions business. This is so fast moving and powerful that it has the potential to change the world as we know it. We have to be careful about AI. We need to really look at the risks and the need to put guidelines around it.”

Anthropic Vs. OpenAI: The Price To Play In Generative AI

Microsoft’s $13 billion overall investment in OpenAI dwarfs Amazon’s plans to invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic.

Microsoft’s $10 billion investment in January in OpenAI followed previous investments it had made in the OpenAI company in 2012 and 2019.

In January, Microsoft said the new investment extends its ongoing collaboration with OpenAI across AI and supercomputing and enables both companies to commercialize the resulting advanced AI technologies.

OpenAI, which has 1,372 employees, according to LinkedIn, has raised a total of $11.3 billion in total funding with its latest round of $300 million coming in April.

Anthropic, meanwhile, has 211 employees, according to LinkedIn, and has raised more than $1.4 billion including $450 million in Series C funding in May.

“Today, we’re announcing that Amazon will invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic,” said Anthropic in a posting on its website. “The agreement is part of a broader collaboration o develop the most reliable and high performing foundation models in the industry. Our frontier safety research and products together with Amazon Web Services (AWS) expertise in running secure, reliable infrastructure, will make Anthropic’s safe and steerable AI widely accessible to AWS customers.”

AWS’ Focus On AI Chips Versus Microsoft’s Ambitious Supercomputing At Scale Mission

Microsoft’s OpenAI collaboration appears more far-reaching and ambitious than AWS’s expanded collaboration with Anthropic, which is focused on AWS’s training chip Trainium and AI accelerator chip Inferentia to build, train and deploy future AI foundation models.

AWS and Anthropic said they will use AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips to build, train and deploy future AI foundation models for AWS. The two companies said they will also “collaborate on future Trainium and Inferentia technology.”

Microsoft, in contrast, has said its investment in OpenAI includes supercomputing at scale with Microsoft increasing its investments in the “development and deployment of specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate OpenAI’s groundbreaking independent AI research.”

In what it called the “third phase of its long-term partnership with OpenAI,” Microsoft said the “multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment” is aimed at accelerating “AI breakthroughs to ensure these benefits are broadly shared with the world.”

Microsoft has said it will deploy OpenAI’s models across both “consumer and enterprise products and introduce new categories of digital experiences built on OpenAI’s technology.”

This includes Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, which empowers developers to build cutting-edge AI applications through direct access to OpenAI models backed by Azure’ enterprise-grade capabilities and AI-optimized infrastructure and tools, said Microsoft.

AWS Is Anthropic’s ‘Primary Cloud Provider For Mission Critical Workloads’ Versus OpenAI As Microsoft’s ‘Exclusive Cloud Provider’

AWS will become Anthropic’s “primary cloud provider for mission critical workloads,” including safety research and future foundation model development, said Amazon.

“Anthropic plans to run the majority of its workloads on AWS, further providing Anthropic with the advanced technology of the world’s leading cloud provider, “ said Amazon.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has said that its agreement with OpenAI makes it the exclusive cloud provider for the AI powerhouse.

“As OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, Azure will power all OpenAI workloads across research, products and API services,” said Microsoft.

The CEO’s Weigh In On The Generative AI Partnerships

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said he believes the collaboration between his company and Anthropic will result in improving many customer AI experiences.

“We have tremendous respect for Anthropic’s team and foundation models and believe we can help improve many customer experiences, short and long-term, through our deeper collaboration,” said Jassy in a prepared statement. “Customers are quite excited about Amazon Bedrock, AWS’ new managed service that enables companies to use various foundation models to build generative AI applications on top of, as well as AWS Trainium, AWS’ AI training chip, and our collaboration with Anthropic should help customers get even more value from these two capabilities.”

Anthropic co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei said his company is excited to use AWS’ Trainium chips to develop future foundation models.”Since announcing our support of Amazon Bedrock in April, Claude has seen significant organic adoption from AWS customers,” he said in a prepared statement. “By significantly expanding our partnership we can unlock new possibilities for organizations of all sizes, as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state of the art AI systems together with AWS’ leading cloud technology.”

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella (pictured), for his part, pointed to the partnership with OpenAI as part of a “shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting edge AI research and democratize AI” as a new technology platform.

“In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications,” said Nadella in a prepared statement.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, meanwhile, pointed to the shared values of the two companies. “The past three years of our partnership have been great,” said Altman in a prepared statement. “Microsoft shares our values and we are excited to continue our independent research and work toward creating advanced AI that benefits everyone.”

A Focus From Both Amazon-Anthropic and Microsoft-OpenAI On Safe Use Of AI

Anthropic said its collaboration with Amazon expands access to “safer” AI.

“Anthropic and Amazon are both committed to the safe training and deployment of advanced foundation models,” said Anthropic. “Amazon is in industry leader in cloud security and as part of this agreement, is committed to promoting and implementing safety best practices on Amazon Bedrock to ensure the responsible use of our products and services.”

Further, Anthropic said, both companies are actively engaged across a number of organizations to “promote the responsible development and deployment of AI technologies including the Global Partnership on AI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”

In July, Amazon and Anthropic both “independently” supported a set of voluntary safety commitment led by the White House to ensure that the future of transformative AI is guided by “safety, security and trust.”

Microsoft and OpenAI in their expanded partnership said that “underpinning” all of the two companies AI efforts is a “shared commitment to building AI systems and product that are trustworthy and safe.”

“OpenAI’s leading research on AI Alignment and Microsoft’s Responsible AI Standard not only establish a leading and advancing framework for the safe deployment of our own AI technologies, but will also help guide the industry toward more responsible outcomes,” said the two companies.

Microsoft’s ChatGPT Copilot Versus Amazon-Anthropic’s Claude Use Cases

Building on its three-year OpenAI ChatGPT collaboration, Microsoft last week unveiled M365 Copilot. The new product incorporates a person’s emails, Teams chats, files and documents to deliver AI-powered results.

Nadella – who has said the GenAI market could be as large as $6.5 trillion -- compared the moment to when the PC, the Web, the smartphone or the cloud were introduced. He said there are two points which make generative AI unique. The first is how users interact with it, while the second is the computing behind AI.

“We are at the place where we finally have a natural interface -- and it started with language, but it’s going to quickly go beyond that -- to see to hear to interpret and make sense of the world around us. And a new reasoning engine. Which helps us find patterns in all that is digitized, people, places, things,” he said. “Together they have created what is essentially a new category of computing.”

Anthropic released its Claude 2 generative AI platform in July with what it called “improved performance” and “longer responses” that can be accessed via its new public facing beta website August, Anthropic began providing Claude 2 on AWS Bedrock.

“Think of Claude as a friendly, enthusiastic colleague or personal assistant who can be instructed in natural language to help you with many tasks,” Anthropic said in a release on the new offering “The Claude 2 API for businesses is being offered for the same price as Claude 1.3. Additionally, anyone in the US and UK can start using our beta chat experience today.”

In its announcement of the Anthropic collaboration, Amazon said it is committing “meaningful resources” to help customers get started with Claude and Claude 2 on Amazon Bedrock including through the AWS Generative AI Innovation Center where “teams of AI experts will help customers of all sizes to develop new generative AI powered applications to transform their organizations.

Among the companies taking advantage of the Amazon -Anthropic partnership are Lonely Planet, a travel media company which is using the technology to help customers plan trips; Bridgewater Associates, an asset management firm, which is using Bedrock and Claude to create a “secure large language model powered Investment Analyst Assistant;” and LexisNexis Legal & Professional, a global provider of legal information, which is using AWS to host a Anthropic Claude 2 model on Amazon Bedrock to provide conversational search, summarization and legal drafting capabilities on its Lexis+ AI platform.

Anthropic has reportedly accumulated a waitlist of more than 350,000 people requesting access to Claude’s application programming interface and its consumer offering.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, meanwhile, which is on its fourth major version of the platform, has over 100 million users with its website generating 1.6 billion visits as of June 2023.