April 20, 2024

Sam Altman standing on the left and Satya Nadella standing on the right in front of a black backdrop with both the OpenAI and Microsoft logos

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (R) speaks as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (L) looks on during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 06, 2023 in San Francisco, California.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

The OpenAI and Microsoft partnership is heating up, with executives at both companies reportedly drawing up plans for a U.S.-based data center that could cost up to $100 billion.

The Information, citing unnamed sources, reports that the data-center would house a supercomputer made up of millions of AI chips, and is being referred to as “Stargate.” People who spoke with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and who have viewed Microsoft’s cost estimates told The Information that the project could reach $100 billion, and that Microsoft would likely finance it. The proposed project costs about 100 times more than some of the largest data centers today, and Microsoft executives want to launch it as soon as 2028, according to The Information.

Stargate would be the largest of a series of five installations Microsoft and OpenAI want to develop over the next six years, while OpenAI’s next AI upgrade is reportedly expected to drop early next year. Meanwhile, Microsoft is developing a supercomputer for the fourth phase of the installment that is expected to launch in 2026, and both companies are on the third phase of the plan.

“Microsoft has demonstrated its ability to build pioneering AI infrastructure used to train and deploy the world’s leading AI models,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. “We are always planning for the next generation of infrastructure innovations needed to continue pushing the frontier of AI capability.”

OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft made a “multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment” in OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, last January. That kicked off a fierce and fast AI race. But the partnership between the two companies has come under scrutiny from E.U. and U.K. regulators.

And Tesla CEO Elon Musk, an OpenAI co-founder and former executive, has sued over the partnership.

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