Microsoft’s single largest investment in its 40-year history in Australia, the latest deal is a huge boost for cloud computing, AI and cybersecurity in the country.
Microsoft will invest A$5bn in expanding its cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Australia over the next two years, significantly growing its presence in the country.
As well as creating new jobs and enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure, Microsoft said the investment will grow its local data centre footprint in Australia from 20 to 29 across Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
The software giant is also working with higher education provider TAFE NSW to establish a Data centre Academy in Australia and extending its global skills programs to help more than 300,000 Australians gain capabilities they need to “thrive in a cloud and AI-enabled economy”.
Brad Smith, Microsoft vice-chair and president, said the investment is the largest in Microsoft’s 40-year history in the country.
“We’re coupling this A$5bn in computing capacity and capabilities with AI and engineering that will strengthen the nation’s cyber defence, including a deeper collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate,” Smith said.
Part of the plan’s objective is to boost Australia’s cybersecurity measures, and to that end, Microsoft will collaborate with the Australian Signals Directorate (a government cybersecurity and intelligence agency) on a joint initiative aimed at protecting Australian residents, businesses and government entities from cyberthreats.
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese said that the investment in “skills and workers of the future” will help Australia to strengthen its position as a world-leading economy.
“A priority for my government is to ensure all Australians benefit from economic growth. This means that we need to provide the skills to enable Australians to succeed in the jobs of the future,” Albanese said.
“A strong economy requires protection from cyberthreats. I welcome Microsoft’s collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate to enhance cybersecurity for households and business.”
Microsoft has been one of the main companies pushing AI in the global tech sector this year, with its investments in OpenAI. The tech giant has incorporated AI into various products and services, which saw it get a revenue boost earlier this year.
Microsoft chair and CEO Satya Nadella’s response to the company’s earnings results in July suggests the company will continue its focus on AI for the foreseeable future.
“Organisations are asking not only how – but how fast – they can apply this next generation of AI to address the biggest opportunities and challenges they face – safely and responsibly,” Nadella said at the time.
“We remain focused on leading the new AI platform shift, helping customers use the Microsoft cloud to get the most value out of their digital spend and driving operating leverage.”
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