Microsoft has announced that AI will be one of its main priorities in the near future, whilst mobile and cloud-first operations will take a back seat.
In its annual financial review, Microsoft placed great stock on AI technology, and mentioned it six times in total. By comparison, the term garnered zero mentions in the 2016 review. In fact, AI even made it onto Microsoft’s overall corporate vision statement, which now reads: “Our strategic vision is to compete and grow by building best-in-class platforms and productivity services for an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge infused with AI.”
A significant move for Microsoft
This is a much larger step than may first appear – simply by dint of it coming from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Ever since he was installed in the role in 2014, Nadella has focused on being a mobile-first and cloud-first business. However, to eschew these in favour of AI shows more of a leap than a step from both the man and company.
Cloud will still be a huge focus for Microsoft (especially considering its recent announcements regarding Office 365 and Azure), but it’s to be augmented with AI. Mobile, on the other hand, looks to be significantly less of a central player for the Redmond firm, especially in light of its unedifying struggles with the Windows Phone OS and buyout of Nokia.
AI dominates agenda for all major tech giants
Though Microsoft may take umbrage with being compared to its biggest rival, there are clear parallels between this announcement and one made recently by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet’s Google. Pichai said that the world is moving from mobile-first to AI-first – a comment that was backed up by Facebook, which is itself investing in cutting-edge AI research.
For users, the fact that all three tech giants are singing from the same hymn sheet should make the point as clear as can be possible – AI is unequivocally the next big thing.