Mistral AI Extends Its Portfolio Mistral enhances AI landscape in Europe with Microsoft partnership and new language models.

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Mistral AI Extends Its Portfolio: Mistral enhances AI landscape in Europe with Microsoft partnership and new language models.

European AI champion Mistral AI unveiled new large language models and formed an alliance with Microsoft. 

What’s new: Mistral AI introduced two closed models, Mistral Large and Mistral Small (joining Mistral Medium, which debuted quietly late last year). Microsoft invested $16.3 million in the French startup, and it agreed to distribute Mistral Large on its Azure platform and let Mistral AI use Azure computing infrastructure. Mistral AI makes the new models available to try for free here and to use on its La Plateforme and via custom deployments.

Model specs: The new models’ parameter counts, architectures, and training methods are undisclosed. Like the earlier, open source Mistral 7B and Mixtral 8x7B, they can process 32,000 tokens of input context. 

  • Mistral Large achieved 81.2 percent on the MMLU benchmark, outperforming Anthropic’s Claude 2, Google’s Gemini Pro, and Meta’s Llama 2 70B, though falling short of GPT-4. Mistral Small, which is optimized for latency and cost, achieved 72.2 percent on MMLU.
  • Both models are fluent in French, German, Spanish, and Italian. They’re trained for function calling and JSON-format output.
  • Microsoft’s investment in Mistral AI is significant but tiny compared to its $13 billion stake in OpenAI and Google and Amazon’s investments in Anthropic, which amount to $2 billion and $4 billion respectively.
  • Mistral AI and Microsoft will collaborate to train bespoke models for customers including European governments.

Behind the news: Mistral AI was founded in early 2023 by engineers from Google and Meta. The French government has touted the company as a home-grown competitor to U.S.-based leaders like OpenAI. France’s representatives in the European Commission argued on Mistral’s behalf to loosen the European Union’s AI Act oversight on powerful AI models. 

Yes, but: Mistral AI’s partnership with Microsoft has divided European lawmakers and regulators. The European Commission, which already was investigating Microsoft’s agreement with OpenAI for potential breaches of antitrust law, plans to investigate the new partnership as well. Members of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party criticized the deal’s potential to give a U.S. company access to European users’ data. However, other French lawmakers support the relationship.

Why it matters: The partnership between Mistral AI and Microsoft gives the startup crucial processing power for training large models and greater access to potential customers around the world. It gives the tech giant greater access to the European market. And it gives Azure customers access to a high-performance model that’s tailored to Europe’s unique regulatory environment.

We’re thinking: Mistral AI has made impressive progress in a short time, especially relative to the resources at its disposal as a startup. Its partnership with a leading hyperscaler is a sign of the tremendous processing and distribution power that remains concentrated in the large, U.S.-headquartered cloud companies.


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