Amazon cut a multi billion-dollar deal with AI startup Anthropic, giving it a powerful ally in the generative arms race.
What’s new: Amazon committed to invest as much as $4 billion in Anthropic. In return, Amazon Web Services (AWS) became the primary provider of Anthropic’s Claude and other models.
How it works: Amazon will invest $1.25 billion in Anthropic immediately. Amazon may invest an additional $2.75 billion depending on undisclosed conditions. Amazon gained an undisclosed minority stake in the startup but not a seat on the board of directors. Other terms were not disclosed.
- Anthropic, whose Claude and Claude 2 large language models became available on AWS’ Bedrock foundation-model service in April and July, agreed to expand its offerings.
- Amazon developers will be able to incorporate Anthropic models into their work, and Anthropic will share its expertise in AI safety.
- AWS customers will have early access to customized, private, and fine-tuned versions of future Anthropic models.
- AWS will replace Google as Anthropic’s primary cloud provider. Anthropic will spend an unspecified sum on AWS and use Amazon’s Trainium and Inferentia chips, which are optimized to process transformer architectures.
Behind the news: Founded in 2021 by ex-OpenAI employees, Anthropic is an independent research lab that focuses on building safe, beneficial AI models. Having received hundreds of millions of dollars from Google and other investors, it became one of the industry’s most highly funded startups. It was valued at $4.1 billion in March.
- In July, Anthropic joined Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI to form the Frontier Model Forum, an industry body that promotes responsible AI.
Why it matters: Competition around generative AI is white-hot. Cloud providers need to offer cutting-edge models, while AI startups need access to processing power. Microsoft Azure paired up with OpenAI. Google has strong internal generative capabilities. That leaves Amazon as a natural partner for Anthropic.
We’re thinking: Which other high-profile AI startups would make dance partners for enterprising cloud providers? Topping the list are AI21 Labs (already working with Amazon Bedrock), Cohere (also available on Bedrock), and Inflection (funded by Microsoft).