Amazon invests $2.75 billion more in OpenAI rival Anthropic

Amazon has announced it is investing $2.75 billion in OpenAI rival Anthropic, bringing its total investment in the AI startup to $4 billion, as initially announced. In September last year, Amazon had invested an initial tranche of $1.25 billion.

As part of this partnership, Anthropic will use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its main cloud provider for key operations, including safety research and the development of foundational models. Anthropic will also use AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips for building, training, and deploying future models.

This arrangement will enable AWS customers to access upcoming generations of Anthropic's foundational models through Amazon Bedrock, AWS's fully managed service.

"Generative AI is poised to be the most transformational technology of our time, and we believe our strategic collaboration with Anthropic will further improve our customers' experiences, and look forward to what's next," Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Data and AI at AWS, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Anthropic unveiled its updated AI model, Claude 3, in three versions - Opus, Sonnet, and Haiku - ranked by capability. The company claims its most powerful version, Opus, outperforms GPT-4.

Attempts to leverage AI

Amazon is just one of several large tech companies that Anthropic has partnered with.

Last October, Anthropic said that Google would invest up to $2 billion in the company, according to Reuters. Its other partners include Zoom and Korea's largest mobile operator SK Telecom.

In a separate announcement last week, the company also said that Haiku and Sonnet were now available on Google Cloud's Vertex AI platform. Analysts suggest that Amazon's investment could be an attempt to strengthen its presence in the cohort, as it faces competition.

"This investment is part of a more significant trend of big tech companies investing heavily in generative AI startups," said Thomas George, president of CyberMedia Group and CMR. "Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, and Salesforce have invested significantly. Amazon's investment in Anthropic, up to $4 billion, with an initial $1.25 billion infusion, underscores its commitment to advancing in the AI sector and directly competing with rivals like Google."

Backing Anthropic could strategically position Amazon to harness cutting-edge AI technologies. Though Amazon has a minority stake in the company, this move strengthens Amazon's AI capabilities and signals its intent to be a frontrunner in the AI and cloud computing domains, according to George.

"Anthropic's decision to primarily use Amazon's cloud services and proprietary chips, such as AWS Trainium and Inferentia, for building, training, and deploying its models could have far-reaching technological and business implications," George said.

"This collaboration is poised to accelerate the development of advanced AI models and technologies, leveraging Amazon's robust cloud infrastructure and chip capabilities. The synergy between Anthropic's AI expertise and Amazon's cloud leadership and technological resources may result in ground-breaking AI applications and services."

Customers across domains

Companies across industries are already using Amazon Bedrock to build their generative AI applications with Anthropic's Claude AI, according to Amazon. These include some big names like Siemens, Pfizer, and Delta Airlines.

The latest update comes on the heels of a recent announcement that AWS, Anthropic, and Accenture are joining forces to assist organizations, particularly those in highly regulated fields such as healthcare, public sector, banking, and insurance, in adopting and scaling generative AI solutions responsibly.

Founded in 2021 by ex-OpenAI staffers Daniela Amodei and CEO Dario Amodei, Anthropic has quickly emerged as a significant rival to OpenAI, attracting significant investment.