Amazon plans to invest up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic

Innovation

Amazon said Monday it will invest up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic, part of a strategic partnership as the tech giant looks to take on the likes of Google, Microsoft and Nvidia in the battle for AI supremacy.
File Photo: Amazon’s multibillion dollar investment means it is ready to join an AI arms race against the likes of Microsoft, Google, Meta and Nvidia. GETTY IMAGES
Key facts
  • Amazon plans to use Anthropic’s AI technology in its products and services, while the startup will rely on Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud services and aid in Amazon’s development of its custom AI chips, Amazon said in a press release.
  • Amazon said it will gain a “minority ownership position” in the AI startup as part of the deal, without offering further details.
  • The initial investment made by Amazon on Monday is believed to be around $1.25 billion, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported.
  • Anthropic, which is seen as a key rival to Microsoft-backed OpenAI, was valued at around $5 billion in its most recent fundraising round in May this year, which included backing from Google.
Key background

Anthropic was founded in 2021 by a group of former OpenAI staffers led by siblings Dario and Daniela Amodei. The startup offers its own AI assistant, called Claude, which is similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

The company has positioned its products as a safer alternative to the likes of ChatGPT, claiming that Claude is governed by a set of built in ethical principles that serve as its “constitution.”

Amazon, which is looking to take the fight to rivals Microsoft, Google and Meta in the AI space announced last week that an upgraded version of its digital assistant, Alexa, will be powered by generative AI. However, it is unclear if Amazon will integrate Anthropic’s AI into Alexa.

Big number

$10 billion. That is the total amount Microsoft invested in OpenAI earlier this year, to gain a 49% stake in the company.

Since then, OpenAI’s language models have been integrated into various Microsoft products and services including Bing search, Office and Windows.

What we don’t know

Google invested $300 million in Anthropic last year and earlier this year it was announced that Google Cloud would serve as the startup’s “preferred cloud provider,” and the companies would work together to “co-develop AI computing systems.” 

It is unclear how Amazon’s latest investment and Anthropic’s choice of AWS as its “primary cloud provider” will alter those plans. Without offering many details, Amodei told the Financial Times Monday that “nothing has changed” in its arrangement with Google.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

More from Forbes Australia