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Amazon adds $2.75 billion to its stake in AI startup Anthropic

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Amazon said On Wednesday, he added $2.75 billion to his investment in Anthropic, a startup that competes with companies like OpenAI and Google in the race to build cutting-edge AI systems.

Six months ago, Amazon invested 1.25 billion dollars in Anthropic, making the San Francisco startup Amazon’s most important AI partner. Amazon said at the time that it had the option to increase its total investment to $4 billion. She had until the end of March to do so, according to financial documents.

Still, this additional investment shows the enormous resources tech companies are devoting to AI and indicates the financial support Anthropic needs to keep pace with its peers.

“We believe our strategic collaboration with Anthropic will further enhance our customers’ experience and we look forward to what comes next,” Swami Sivasubramanian, an Amazon executive, said in a blog post announcing the investment.

As Anthropic closes in on Amazon, it has shed a large portion of a controversial investor’s holdings. Last week, a federal judge allowed bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX to sell its stake in Anthropic. In 2021, FTX invested 500 million dollars in the AI ​​startup, with a stake of around 8 percent.

The value of this investment has since exploded. Anthropic’s valuation tripled to $15 billion in just one year, The New York Times reported in February.

Anthropic was launched in 2021 by a group of researchers from OpenAI, the company that created the chatbot ChatGPT. At the time, many of these researchers were concerned about OpenAI joining forces with Microsoft in a partnership worth $13 billion.

Anthropic has gradually funds raised because the development of the fundamental systems of generative AI requires considerable financial resources, both to hire personnel and to secure computing power.

Amazon’s investment in Anthropic is not a simple equity investment. Like Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI, it includes access to AI systems and a commitment to providing computing power. But it remains far from high-value acquisitions that could trigger antitrust scrutiny. The Federal Trade Commission started an investigation to see if these types of big AI contracts hinder competition. (The Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement over news content related to AI systems.)

In a key part of the partnership, Anthropic agreed to build its AI using specialized computer chips designed by Amazon. Amazon said it hoped Anthropic would contribute to its efforts to meet the cutting-edge demands of AI and collaborate on the design of specialized chips.

Amazon also has a first chance to make Anthropic’s AI models available to customers of its cloud computing service, and this month announcement that it would provide access to the most powerful anthropogenic models, known as Claude 3.

FTX’s bankruptcy estate has agreed to sell about two-thirds of its shares in the startup for $884 million. The majority of shares went to ATIC Third International Investment, a company linked to a UAE sovereign wealth fund.

Other buyers included quantitative trading firm Jane Street and the Ford Foundation, a philanthropic group. Darren Walker, president of the foundation, said in an interview that he sees Anthropic as a significant competitor to OpenAI.

“The fact that Anthropic has emerged and will become a serious competitor is a good thing for the markets, and it’s a good thing for the public and the public interest,” Mr. Walker said.

David Yaffe-Bellany contributed reporting from New York.

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