Microsoft European HQ in Munich, Germany

Microsoft to invest $4.3 billion in cloud infrastructure, AI in France

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) intends to spend over $4 billion in its latest spending spree on artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud infrastructure in France.

The tech giant announced the investment during the Choose France Summit in Versailles. The annual event was a success, setting a new record with over $16 billion in pledges from foreign companies, eclipsing last year’s $14 billion. This included a commitment by e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to invest $1.3 billion to increase its footprint in the country.

Microsoft revealed in an accompanying press release that it will invest $4.3 billion to expand its AI and cloud infrastructure in France. By the end of next year, it intends to purchase 25,000 advanced GPUs for its sites in Paris and Marseille and build a new data center in the eastern city of Mulhouse.

“This major investment demonstrates a steadfast commitment to supporting digital innovation and economic growth in France,” commented Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Smith toured the company’s French headquarters, accompanied by President Emmanuel Macron, where he pledged to “put this infrastructure to work for everyone in France.”

Microsoft built its first data center in France in 2017. At the time, it focused solely on cloud infrastructure, as AI was still in its infancy.

With the latest expansion, the company has executed its first power-purchasing agreement and expects to receive 100 MW of renewable energy by the end of the year.

In addition to the data centers, the Redmond-based giant also pledged to invest in upskilling one million people on AI, focusing on students and professionals. To achieve this target, it intends to partner with government organizations, non-profits, and universities.

The investment, which is Microsoft’s largest in France, is the latest in a growing list of big-money splashes by the tech firm. Last month, it invested $1.5 billion in Abu Dhabi’s AI company G42 and followed it up with a $2.2 billion investment in Malaysia, $1.7 billion in Indonesia, and $3.3 billion in Wisconsin.

In France, the investment comes with the extra incentive of warming up to the Macron administration, as EU watchdogs raised questions over Microsoft’s investment in Mistral, the French AI unicorn.

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