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Microsoft Invests $1.5B in Abu Dhabi-Based AI Company G42 Microsoft Invests $1.5B in Abu Dhabi-Based AI Company G42
As reported by Reuters, Microsoft has committed $1.5 billion to Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence company G42. This is signaling a significant... Microsoft Invests $1.5B in Abu Dhabi-Based AI Company G42

As reported by Reuters, Microsoft has committed $1.5 billion to Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence company G42. This is signaling a significant realignment in global tech alliances that sees the Middle East potentially becoming an AI hub.

An investment of this scale not only strengthens Microsoft’s presence in the Middle East but also positions the United Arab Emirates closer to the United States, diverging from its previous stance of neutrality akin to “the Switzerland of the Gulf.

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This comes weeks after Saudi Arabia’s own announcement to invest heavily into AI in the coming years through a new fund.  The agreement, announced on Tuesday, includes Microsoft President Brad Smith joining the G42 board and allows the tech giant to supply a set proportion of cloud capacity to G42.

This collaboration marks a notable shift for G42, which will now utilize Microsoft’s platforms for its AI models, moving away from Huawei’s telecom equipment — a direct nod to U.S. security concerns.

In the past, the UAE has traditionally maintained a robust trade relationship with China, with transactions between China and the MENA region reaching $505 billion in 2022. However, recent geopolitical shifts and U.S. export restrictions on advanced technology to the UAE have underscored a reevaluation of strategic partnerships.

Microsoft’s entry into the UAE market in 2019 was met with challenges, particularly regarding data storage regulations. But this new deal not only enhances its competitive edge over other cloud providers like Amazon Web Services but also aligns with McKinsey’s forecast that the oil and gas sectors could generate substantial EBITDA from cloud storage by 2030.

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The implications of this deal extend beyond commercial interests. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s discussions with Abu Dhabi officials prior to the announcement highlight the geopolitical importance of this partnership. This mirrors other U.S.-endorsed tech engagements, such as Intel’s involvement in a major Israeli chip deal.

When it comes to emerging technology, you cannot be both in China’s camp and our camp,” Raimondo emphasized in a statement to the New York Times, underlining the increasingly polarized landscape of international tech investments.

This partnership underscores a new shift for the UAE, demonstrating a move towards more overt political alliances in its tech and AI strategies. While the UAE has been a pivotal hub for innovation, the nuances of global politics appear to shape its path forward more than ever, challenging its long-held image of neutrality.

ODSC Team

ODSC Team

ODSC gathers the attendees, presenters, and companies that are shaping the present and future of data science and AI. ODSC hosts one of the largest gatherings of professional data scientists with major conferences in USA, Europe, and Asia.

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