Microsoft plans to invest $3.2 billion in Australia over the next two years, focusing on AI and cloud computing. This strategic move, reported by Reuters, is part of a broader initiative that encompasses skills training and enhanced cybersecurity measures.
A significant boost to computing capacity
The tech behemoth aims to increase its computing capacity in Australia by a staggering 250%. This expansion will position Australia, the world’s 13th largest economy, to cater to the surging demand for cloud computing. With AI integration on the rise, the need for cloud computing is projected to double between 2022 and 2026.
Microsoft’s investment comes as Australia begins discussing AI regulation, spurred by the launch of ChatGPT by Microsoft-backed OpenAI.
Investing in skills and cybersecurity
Beyond the $3.2 billion commitment, Microsoft has pledged to provide training for 300,000 Australians, equipping them with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital economy. Additionally, the company plans to broaden its cybersecurity information-sharing agreement with the Australian Signals Directorate.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese lauded the initiative, emphasizing the importance of equipping Australians with future-ready skills. Furthermore, Microsoft Vice Chairman and President Brad Smith highlighted the investment as a reflection of Microsoft’s dedication to Australia’s growth in the AI-dominated era.
While specific allocation details of the $3.2 billion remain undisclosed, Microsoft has confirmed plans to expand its data center presence in Australia, increasing from 20 to 29 sites.
The potential of generative AI in Australia
A report co-authored by Microsoft suggests that generative AI could boost Australia’s economy by $72 billion annually by 2030 if integrated quickly. Although Australia currently lacks AI-specific regulations, experts increasingly call for regulations to tackle bias, copyright issues, and privacy breaches.