Who is Mustafa Suleyman, AI chief at Microsoft?

Tech giant Microsoft made a big move in the artificial intelligence (AI) battle for supremacy. On Tuesday, the Satya Nadella-led company has roped in Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of Google’s DeepMind and Inflection AI, to lead its consumer AI business.

Reporting directly to Nadella, Suleyman will be responsible for expanding a consumer AI business.


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“I’m excited to announce that today I’m joining @Microsoft as CEO of Microsoft AI. I’ll be leading all consumer AI products and research, including Copilot, Bing and Edge,” Suleyman said in a post on X.


— mustafasuleyman (@mustafasuleyman)

But who is Suleyman? Let’s take a look.

Time at Google

Suleyman has become one of the biggest voices in the AI industry. He cofounded DeepMind, an AI lab in 2010 with others like Shane Legg and Demis Hassabis, now the CEO. Google acquired the London-based DeepMind in 2014, driven primarily by its urge to be at the forefront of the AI revolution it saw coming. DeepMind was merged with Google Brain last year. The entity is now called Google DeepMind.

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During the 2014 acquisition, Google stated that DeepMind’s expertise in deep learning would be crucial in the race against other tech companies, all aiming to leverage this technology for business advantages.

At Inflection AI

Suleyman left Google in 2022 and with cofounder Karén Simonyan, a leading researcher who also came from DeepMind, founded Inflection AI, a startup looking to build a personal AI assistant.

In May, the company launched Pi, its consumer assistant, impressed users with its friendly and supportive personality. However, despite critical acclaim, it only attracted around a million daily users, falling short of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in terms of user base.

The company raised $1.3 billion in June last year, with Microsoft as its lead investor.

But with its top executives on their way out, what happens to Inflection AI?

The company said it was changing its approach. It will not shut Pi down, but it will no longer focus on building a consumer business. Instead, it will work with commercial customers to create, test and tune AI systems. Microsoft is also striking a deal with Inflection AI to offer their latest tech to businesses using Microsoft’s cloud services.

Microsoft’s AI push

Microsoft is expanding its already leading position in amid the AI frenzy, accumulating investments and partnerships. This began with its $1 billion investment in Sam Altman’s OpenAI, now among the biggest generative AI companies in the world, popularised further by its chatbot ChatGPT, in 2019.

Microsoft upped the ante by pumping in another $10 billion in January 2023. Its cumulative investment in OpenAI stands at around $13 billion. Last month, Microsoft also partnered with French startup Mistral AI, a company that is seen as another promising upstart in the generative AI field.

The full embrace of AI has often taken archrival Google by surprise and seen Microsoft become the world’s biggest company by market capitalisation, taking over that top berth from Apple.

(With agency inputs)

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