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The Executive Trying to Make Microsoft Smarter About AI

Author: Editors Desk Source: WSJ:
September 16, 2023 at 08:24

In the tech industry’s artificial-intelligence race, Microsoft MSFT -2.50%decrease; red down pointing triangle is taking an unusual tack: pouring billions into a tiny, unproven startup, rather than relying on homegrown technology and in-house teams. 

A relative newcomer to the company is behind this bet: Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott.

Scott joined the tech giant seven years ago as part of an acquisition and has bucked Microsoft’s culture to promote a $10 billion partnership with OpenAI. 

Scott said his OpenAI-or-bust strategy was the only way the company could have catapulted itself ahead. His approach has rankled some employees, especially within Microsoft’s research division, who found their own AI projects pushed aside and their resources curtailed. Many have left the company out of frustration. 

“It’s just been clear as day that you have to pick the things that you think are going to be successful and give those things the resources to be successful every day,” Scott, 52, said in an interview.

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