Microsoft building

Microsoft invests $3.2B to expand its cloud, AI infrastructure in Sweden

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has announced plans to expand its footprint in the Nordic region via sizable investments in cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure, with Sweden being the first port of call.

According to a Reuters report, the technology giant has pledged to invest 33.7 billion Swedish crowns (US$3.2 billion) to improve data and AI capabilities in the country over two years. The announcement will see Microsoft earmark a significant portion of resources to increase the number and capacities of data centers in Sweden without neglecting human resources.

Microsoft will provide the country with 20,000 graphic processing units (GPUs) to support the development of large language models (LLMs) for generative AI. Existing three data centers in Sandviken, Staffanstorp, and Gavle will receive a chunk of the GPUs to power their operations.

Outside of infrastructure, the $3.2 billion capital injection will support the training of 250,000 Swedes in AI skills, providing a healthy talent pool for local firms and international players. Microsoft is particularly keen on developing a clutch of AI developers to power Sweden’s desire to transform itself into an AI powerhouse in Europe.

The U.S.-based company intends to achieve its AI upskilling ambitions by collaborating with civil societies, high schools, and universities to roll out digital courses for residents over a three-year period.

Microsoft turned its gaze on Sweden for several reasons, including its “forward-thinking” energy policy, embrace of emerging technologies, and relative ease of doing business among its peers in the EU.

Buoyed by the prospects of a conducive business environment, the company confirmed that it will extend its investments to renewable energy in the country by up to 1000 MW. The $3.7 billion is the largest investment by Microsoft in Sweden since it began operations in the country nearly 40 years ago.

“AI is a tech transformation that should be seen as a multiplier or catalyst,” said Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. “It is part of the strategy going forward when, after successfully fighting inflation, we enter a new phase, an investment phase.”

An eye for expansion

Microsoft says it will expand its footprint across Scandinavia, mulling the prospects of similar investments in Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland. Previously, the tech giant has entered similar partnerships with the U.K., Spain, and Indonesia, spending over $10 billion.

In March, the firm went on a hiring spree to focus on consumer AI offerings while making impressive innovations in the space as it tries to snag market share from its competitors.

“We want to make sure that this next wave is one that, for the consumer, Microsoft can really, really create incredible products,” Microsoft’s Mustafa Suleyman said.

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