Microsoft Build 2023

The Six Five team discusses Microsoft Build 2023.

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Daniel Newman: So this was an AI centric event. It was a AI layer cake of everything. It spread across Microsoft’s portfolio. It spread from consumer, a lot of focus on that. So some highlights, ChatGPT got Bing integration. Bing added a bunch of new plugins. Windows 11 now has a ChatGPT-powered AI assistant. Windows 11 got some cloud OS backup and restore. Then I’m going to leave this one for you because I know you do a lot of devices, but there was some pretty big Windows 11 arm updates too that came out of Build, if you want to cover that one. I don’t have the depth on that one, but I thought there was some moves that were made there.

I also noted that there was a few things for the enterprise, Pat, that were notable too. Azure AI put out a number of governance updates for content safety. There was a, I guess, GA now of the ready-to-use document and conversation summarization for Azure cognitive service for language. Then Microsoft, and this is probably one that you and I will definitely want to come back and talk more about at some point, and that was the reveal of Microsoft Fabric.

So as we know, we’re going to have a lot of disparate data that’s going to live across the enterprise or organizations, public, private, hybrid. You’re going to have structured, unstructured. We’ve been saying for a long time in order to do the most important ML in analytics, you needed to have the right fabric. We often talk about companies like Cloudera that have very interesting hybrid fabrics and we talk about this, but you know the public cloud providers are going to start to build this.

They’re going to start to create a more seamless fabric for, A, data management, and then of course, B, there’s going to be a ton of requirements for fabric for networking because for all this stuff to happen, it’s going to have to happen very efficiently, very low latency. It’s going to have to be cost management because it’s going to be extraordinarily expensive to be building, training, and inferencing all this data. So Microsoft, as you could expect, is launching a new fabric.

So my take, Pat, across the board of the Microsoft Build event is it was all about what the company’s done with its open AI investment. There was a number of additional co-pilot capabilities that were announced, ChatGPT capabilities announced, Azure AI capabilities. This is the year of AI for Microsoft. It’s the if you don’t see it involved in some part of the portfolio, you’d have to ask yourself why, but as of right now, Microsoft is all in from device to the cloud, to the edge, and this is another event to reinforce its strategy.

Patrick Moorhead: After getting the generative AI jump a few months ago, it’s amazing. I think it was February. You and I were at the unveiling up in Redmond. They announced here at Build exactly what you would expect, which is, how do I extend generative AI to my developer community? It’s a very diverse developer community. At one side, you have Azure and on the other side, you have windows and devices, and then you have everything in the middle. So what did they do that you would’ve expected? Growing this AI plugin ecosystem. How do I plug into and leverage ChatGPT services inside of Microsoft? That’s Bing, that’s dynamics, that’s 365 co-pilot, that’s Microsoft 365 co-pilot, it’s Bing. How do I plug in to that environment? So that was obviously a big one.

Then some enhancements to Azure AI Studio to increase the simplicity, and I’ll call it power of plugging into all of Azure AI including content safety. Now, one of the questions that I know enterprises have is, “Hey, how do I manage safety here? Is it going to be Microsoft doing this or is there going to be ability for me to fine tune?” I think the answer was there all the time. You have different states, you have different countries, you have different regions, you have different ways the companies want to moderate content. I think the more that Microsoft takes themself out of the loop, the better. Else, it gets very political.

I’m going to go on Microsoft Fabric. I want to dive into that. What I’m trying to figure out is what it really is and what it isn’t. Is this a repackaging of some of the tools that they’re doing? By the way, I like fabrics. I get excited about fabrics. I can’t contain myself when we’re talking about fabrics, but there’s a lot of work that I have to do to get underneath this.

So Microsoft always has to watch how much content they apply on each area. Now, I thought there would be more discussion about on device AI, but I think Microsoft weighed that heavily. Now, Panos Panay, the Chief Product Officer, had a very good blog that came out and I think crystallized what they’re doing. This is a thing called hybrid AI loop that supports AI development across platform, across Azure clients supporting AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.

I knew looking in my crystal ball that the company would have to support these four vendors even though right now from a performance per watt on the right type of tops, I think Qualcomm has the lead. Microsoft did their studio effects first and deeper on Qualcomm. While we don’t have exact specifics about the next generation Orion platform based on the Nuvia core, I am hearing that it is gigantic, and the ability to operate in a hybrid AI mode. You have the cloud on one side, you have the device on the other, and then you have a hybrid mode in the middle.

I think it’s pretty clear how you architect for and build for the ends of the spectrum, but I think this hybrid element where, “Hey, let’s just say you don’t have enough oomph at the endpoint and you need to, for lack of a better term, burst to the cloud,” that is going to take some architecture on determining when you burst. There might be some workloads that aren’t burstable because you don’t want to be sending in any information into the cloud, but I do believe that that is the future of computing, which is this hybrid element of AI.

Qualcomm and Intel had some very focused posts out there showing how they’re supporting it. Qualcomm talked about Orion and Intel talked about Meteor Lake and Intel, how it was enabling the VPU, I can’t stand that name, the VPU, I think a video processing unit, but talking about how it’s going to be supporting it. I do think in the end from a performance per watt in the right type of AI, Qualcomm has the early lead here, and I do appreciate the entire company rallying around edge AI when a lot of companies who you would expect to be rallying around and really driving it are not, but, hey, Qualcomm has the lead, they’re going to drive it.

By the way, for Qualcomm, it’s not just about the PC, right? It’s about the smartphone, it’s about the PC, it’s about the industrial IoT edge, it’s about the car. I know that I’m going to be doing a lot more writing on this in the future.

Net-net, I think it’s good for consumers and I think this is good for businesses, and if nothing else, it is going to shake up the landscape like we haven’t seen in probably more than a decade. Daniel, I had my doubts early on whether this was the smartphone moment, and I say that tongue in cheek because smartphone moment actually happened 10 years before the smartphone moment that I think most of us think about, but it is going to change everything. It’s not that it’s about me, but it’s changed my workflows. I know inside of your company, The Futurum Group, is doubling down on a, what do you call it, an AI analyst capability.

Daniel Newman: AI analyst, analytics, and content.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, and I have a couple engineers looking at a few options for my company as well. Exciting stuff.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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