Microsoft pledges $4.3 billion investment at Macron’s ‘Choose France’ summit

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Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, right, speaks to French President Emmanuel Macron at the French Microsoft headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, Monday, May 13, 2024. Microsoft, which has been present in France for 41 years, is announcing a 4 billion euro investment this year, the largest to date in the country, to support French growth in the new artificial intelligence economy. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

PARIS – Microsoft announced its most substantial commitment yet to France, pledging on Monday to invest 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) this year to bolster the country’s burgeoning artificial intelligence sector.

The move is part of a broader effort unveiled during President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business event, Choose France, which aims to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth.

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Microsoft’s vice chair and president, Brad Smith, visited the company’s French headquarters with Macron.

“We will build out the computing capacity here in France," Smith said. "We will put this infrastructure to work for everyone in France.”

The plan includes expanding next-generation Cloud and AI infrastructure and delivering up to 25,000 of the most advanced GPUs, or graphics processing units, to France by the end of 2025.

Additionally, Microsoft will launch an AI skilling initiative to train 1 million French people by the end of 2027, emphasizing the importance of equipping citizens with future-ready skills.

The announcement was made as part of the annual Choose France summit, created by Macron in 2018. The summit, held this year at the Palace of Versailles, was attended by 180 international CEOs and senior business executives. It highlighted foreign investments totaling a reported 15 billion euros, surpassing last year’s 13 billion euros raised through 28 projects.

Macron addressed the necessity of advancing AI technology in Europe and told Microsoft staff, “We are entering a totally different world where the competition will be ferocious, and we can only win this competition if we have trusted partners, and you are among them.”

This significant investment underscores Microsoft’s commitment to supporting French growth in the AI economy and marks a milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance France’s position as a global leader in technology and innovation.

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