Microsoft is in talks to commit as much as $10 billion (£8.2 billion) into ChatGPT owner OpenAI as tech giants race to ramp up their artificial intelligence capability amid a surge in interest in the technology.
The funding would include a number of other investors, according to reports by news site Semafor, and would value OpenAI at $29 billion, with document issued to investors weeks ago and a target date to close the deal set for the end of 2022.
Microsoft and OpenAI have yet to comment on the deal.
Founded in 2015, artificial intelligence research centre OpenAI was set up by a group of billionaire tech entrepreneurs including Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and received a $1 billion investment from Microsoft in 2019.
It took just five days for OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot to hit one million sign-ups after its launch last month, as users rushed to try out the human-like chat functionality offered by the service, which is able to provide complex answers to scientific questions, write poetry and provide recipes for home-cooked meals.
Microsoft is planning to ramp up its use of OpenAI’s technology as part of plans to take search engine market share from rival Google.
The Washington-based business plans to use the tools built by the artificial intelligence research laboratory to offer human-like answers to queries typed into its search engines rather than provide a list of websites as it does currently, and could have the functionality up and running as soon as March, according to IT news site The Information.
Bing accounted for just 9% of the global search market in 2022, according to data from Statistica – well behind Google’s 83% dominance over the same period.