Press Release

Amazon Matches Microsoft By Doubling Startup Credits To $200,000

Amazon has increased AWS credits for Series A firms by twofold to $200,000 in response to Microsoft Azure’s growing rivalry.

TakeAway Points:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) is increasing cloud credits for Series A businesses by twofold to a total of $200,000, in an effort to upend Microsoft Azure.
  • To speed up AI development, AWS licences its technology and recruits the best engineers from AI startup Adept.
  • EU antitrust authorities are investigating Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI, underscoring the competitive constraints in the AI industry.

Amazon Expands Startup Cloud Credits

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is set to double the value of credits it offers to certain startups for using its cloud infrastructure. Starting July 1, startups that have raised a Series A round of funding in the past year will be eligible for $200,000 in credits through AWS’ Activate program, up from the previous $100,000. Seed-stage startups will continue to be eligible for $100,000 in credits. This move comes as Amazon faces heightened competition from Microsoft in artificial intelligence (AI) services.

Matt Garman, recently promoted to CEO of AWS, has been meeting with founders in Silicon Valley, emphasizing that collaborating with startups remains a primary focus. Garman described AI companies as AWS’ ideal customers. AWS, which generated $25 billion in revenue in the first quarter, up 17% from the previous year, leads the market but faces growing competition from Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, both of which are benefiting from rapidly advancing AI models.

AI Talent Sourcing and Licensing

Amazon is ramping up its AI development by hiring top talent from AI agent startup Adept and licensing the company’s technology. Rohit Prasad, a senior vice president and head scientist overseeing Amazon’s artificial general intelligence (AGI) unit, announced that the company has hired Adept co-founder and CEO David Luan, along with several of his colleagues. Luan will oversee Amazon’s “AGI Autonomy” division and report to Prasad.

Amazon will license Adept’s agent technology, multimodal models, and datasets, which Prasad stated will “accelerate our roadmap for building digital agents that can automate software workflows.” Adept, founded in 2022 by former OpenAI and Google engineers, has been developing AI agents capable of performing complex tasks without human assistance. The startup will continue to operate as a standalone company after the transition.

Market Competition and Regulatory Review

Amazon’s move to bolster its AI capabilities comes amid fierce competition from Microsoft and Google, both of which are rapidly integrating new AI features into their core products. Microsoft, for instance, has partnered with Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator to offer participating startups $350,000 in Azure credits and access to graphics processing units (GPUs) for training AI models. Microsoft has also extended this credit incentive to other accelerators, including the AI Grant.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI is under scrutiny from the European Union’s antitrust watchdogs. The EU is questioning Microsoft’s exclusivity clauses with OpenAI and their potential impact on competition. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, announced that regulators are asking Microsoft’s rivals about these clauses. The EU is also examining Google’s arrangement with Samsung Electronics to pre-install its small model “Gemini nano” on certain devices.

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