Amazon Will Invest Up To $4B into OpenAI Rival Anthropic


The partnership could help Amazon better compete against Google and Microsoft as the AI arms race heats up.

Amazon announced that it would invest up to $4 billion into Anthropic — the AI startup best known for its Claude chatbot and founded by siblings Dario and Daniela Amodei, who used to work for OpenAI.

This deal pales compared to the reported $13 billion that Microsoft has invested into OpenAI, the biggest name in generative AI technology. Still, that partnership has been blossoming since 2019. Nevertheless, it’s a clear sign that Amazon is staking its claim in the escalating AI arms race.

Anthropic’s Claude and Claude 2 large language model–based chatbots are similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard in that they can translate text, write code, and answer various questions. Still, Anthropic says its model is safer and more reliable because it’s guided by a set of principles, allowing it to revise responses by itself instead of relying on human moderators. Claude can also respond to larger prompts, making it well-suited for combing through longer business or legal documents.

As part of the deal, Amazon will gain minority company ownership. It has agreed to incorporate Anthropic’s technology into various products across its business, including the  Amazon Bedrock service for building AI applications. Anthropic will also use Amazon’s custom chips to build, train, and deploy its future AI foundation models. It has committed to using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its primary cloud provider.

Amazon has initially committed to a $1.25 billion investment, with an option to grow the investment by a further $2.75 billion. Suppose it does reach that $4 billion total. In that case, Bloomberg reports that the deal will represent the largest known investment related to AWS, the world’s largest seller of on-demand computing power and data storage.

Google is also interested in Anthropic, with a roughly 10% stake after making a $300 million investment in the AI startup earlier this year. According to Reuters, Anthropic continues its partnership with Google despite the new Amazon deal and is still planning to make its technology available via Google Cloud.