Microsoft is making AI a top priority, with services like the chatbot Bing Chat, and the Office apps-themed Microsoft 365 Copilot, among others. Now there's word that Microsoft has been developing its own hardware chip made specifically for AI programs and it's been in the works for four years.
According to The Information, using two unnamed sources, the chip has the internal code name Athena, and Microsoft's been working on it since 2019 with 300 employees dedicated to it. The story adds that the chip is currently in testing with some Microsoft employees, along with some workers from OpenAI, which created ChatGPT that Microsoft is using to help develop Bing Chat.
Currently, Microsoft is using chips made by NVIDIA for its AI services. The idea is that making its own in-house processor will both work better for it needs, as well as cost less. The plan is to launch Athena sometime in 2024.
Of course, creating chips in-house for servers and other cloud-based systems is nothing new in the industry. Amazon, Google, and Facebook all have designed their own server processors for use in their data centers. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will continue to use NVIDIA chips as well as its own for its AI-based centers.