Microsoft to invest £2.5 billion into global AI development

The tech giant has announced a £2.5bn investment into the UK to build AI infrastructure, with the hope of building more data centres and GPUs

Microsoft has announced plans to invest £2.5 billion (US$3.16bn) to build AI infrastructure in the UK, the company said at a government-hosted summit.

Announced at the Global Investment Summit on Monday (27th November 2023), it forms part of a £29.5bn (US$37.4bn) commitment to the UK by global businesses. Microsoft is expecting that the investment will bring more data centres and graphics processing units, which are circuits used to power AI applications, to the UK.

This news arrives shortly after Microsoft announced a significant investment in Australian data centres, with US$3.17bn to expand cloud computing and AI capabilities, as well as the addition of nine new data centres across Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

Rising AI causes a deeper commitment to data centres

Today, with dramatic technology growth causing a rapid uptake in AI adoption, the data centre sector is under pressure to stay ahead and cater to new demands. It is no secret that the mass adoption of cloud computing and AI is driving unprecedented data centre growth, with half of all cloud data centres expected to use AI by 2025.

Microsoft’s investment plans for the UK have been announced in the midst of a widespread global race for enterprises to harness new technologies to power data centres. Particularly across Europe, the demand for data centres broke records during the second quarter of 2023 as a result of AI, as reported by CoStar.

In addition to the UK and Australia, Microsoft has also recently announced a Canadian data centre expansion plan. Data Centre Magazine has reported that the company’s investment is expected to increase its local cloud infrastructure footprint by 750% across Canada in the next two years.

With multiple worldwide investments into data centres, Microsoft is aiming to improve upon its sustainability goals by incorporating eco-friendly construction materials and renewable energy sources. The company aims to ensure its new data centres help meet the company’s sustainability goals of being carbon-negative, water-positive and zero waste by 2030.

Additionally, the UK investment hopes to see a positive impact on business development, hoping to create thousands of new jobs and facilitate economic growth across the country. The company already hosts data centre campuses across the UK, with its community development work supporting sustainability and skill building for all ages. 

Microsoft is also upgrading its existing three UK sites with the latest GPUs, networking equipment and its own AI chips amid the AI boom and after it had to limit access to its UK-based services in 2022 due to supply shortages.

More information about the investment is expected to be released by the tech giant in the near future.

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