Microsoft hires DeepMind cofounder to lead its new consumer AI division

Microsoft Hires Deepmind Cofounder To Lead Its New Consumer Ai Division

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Microsoft now has a lone leader overseeing consumer AI for the first time. DeepMind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman is joining the company from rival Inflection AI. Suleyman will try to push the consumer-facing Copilot assistant into the future, preparing for what may be a long battle with Google for artificial intelligence supremacy among Silicon Valley’s Big Five companies.

Suleyman’s official title will be executive vice president and CEO of a new division called Microsoft AI, reporting directly to CEO Satya Nadella. Joining him will be fellow Inflection AI cofounder Karén Simonyan, who takes the title of chief scientist.

“Messy” could be one way to describe Microsoft’s Copilot rollout. Despite its quick jump out of the starting blocks to take the lead over Google, Bloomberg reported in January that Bing’s market share hardly moved the needle against its search rival. In addition, a Microsoft engineer raised flags earlier this year about the safety of OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 and Copilot, even taking his case to the FTC. Further complicating matters, Google’s AI efforts may be in for an enormous boost as it’s reportedly in talks with Apple to power the iPhone maker’s generative AI tools.

In announcing his move to Microsoft, Suleyman posted on X (Twitter) that “several of our amazing teammates” from Inflection AI will join him and Simonyan in Microsoft AI. But that may be an understatement. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Microsoft is instead “hiring most of the staff from his Inflection AI startup.” In a blog post announcing the changes, Inflection said it plans to “lean into our AI studio business” in an apparent pivot into the enterprise and away from its consumer-facing Pi chatbot.

Suleyman cofounded DeepMind in 2010, four years before Google bought the British-American AI startup for a sum reported to be between $400 million and $650 million. Suleyman left DeepMind in 2019 to join Google, and three years later, he left to cofound Inflection AI.

“I’ve known Mustafa for several years and have greatly admired him as a founder of both DeepMind and Inflection, and as a visionary, product maker, and builder of pioneering teams that go after bold missions,” Nadella wrote in a Microsoft blog post. The CEO described the incoming Inflection expats as “some of the most accomplished AI engineers, researchers, and builders in the world.”

Nadella stressed that Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI is still a top priority. The ChatGPT maker provides the underlying generative AI models for Copilot. “Our AI innovation continues to build on our most strategic and important partnership with OpenAI,” he wrote. “We will continue to build AI infrastructure inclusive of custom systems and silicon work in support of OpenAI’s foundation model roadmap, and also innovate and build products on top of their foundation models.”

This news around Suleyman’s role and the company’s AI department arrives just days ahead of Microsoft’s Surface event that’s slated to take place on March 21st. It’s titled “New Era of Work,” so it’s likely to be enterprise-focused, though of course the term “AI” has already made an appearance. The company says it’ll show off “the latest in scaling AI in your environment with Copilot, Windows and Surface.” You can watch that via livestream on Microsoft’s website or just come back here as we’ll be covering the announcements as they break. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

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