Microsoft forms new AI division led by Inflection, DeepMind cofounder

  • Mustafa Suleyman most recently served as CEO of AI unicorn Inflection AI

  • Suleyman indicated “several” Inflection AI staffers are also joining Microsoft

  • Suleyman and Simonyan will focus on beefing up Microsoft’s Copilot technology

Microsoft is getting serious about artificial intelligence (AI). Er, more serious than it already was. The company just created a new AI division and hired ex-DeepMind and Google executive Mustafa Suleyman to run it as CEO.

Suleyman is charged with beefing up Microsoft’s Copilot technology and leading all consumer AI products and research including Bing and Edge.


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“We have a real shot to build technology that was once thought impossible and that lives up to our mission to ensure the benefits of AI reach every person and organization on the planet, safely and responsibly,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in a note announcing the move. “We have been operating with speed and intensity and this infusion of new talent will enable us to accelerate our pace yet again.”

But there’s a bit of cannibalism going on with this move.

Suleyman was most recently co-founder and CEO of Inflection AI, a machine learning and generative AI startup founded in 2022. Inflection notably raised a whopping $1.3 billion in 2023 from the likes of – you guessed it – Microsoft and Nvidia and was poised to take on OpenAI with its Pi chatbot. All told, it raised more than $1.5 billion, when accounting for the $225 million it raised in 2022.

At the time, Inflection claimed to be working with Nvidia and CoreWeave to build the largest AI cluster in the world, with more than 22,000 H100 GPUs.

The move is particularly interesting given Microsoft’s close relationship with OpenAI, but not entirely surprising in light of its other AI partnerships and OpenAI’s recent drama.

It seems rather than actually acquiring the company, Microsoft is contenting itself with just hiring away key staff.

Another Inflection co-founder, Karén Simonyan, is also joining Microsoft. He will serve beside Suleyman in the AI division as Chief Scientist. Kevin Scott will remain Microsoft’s CTO and EVP of AI, responsible for strategy, architecture decisions and partnerships.

Nadella added “several members of the Inflection team have chosen to join Mustafa and Karén at Microsoft. They include some of the most accomplished AI engineers, researchers, and builders in the world.” It’s not entirely clear exactly how many of Inflection’s small staff are moving, but given the company has under 75 employees, it’s likely to be a substantial chunk.

The road ahead for Inflection

Inflection will now be led by new CEO Sean White, formerly chief R&D officer at Mozilla, among other roles.

The company said it will host Inflection 2.5 on Microsoft Azure and will pivot from a focus on Pi to efforts to make its technology more widely available via APIs.

“Between API access and select high-level partnerships with great customers, our AIs can now spread to even larger new user bases while helping put cutting-edge AI capabilities in the hands of thousands of developers,” the company stated.

We reached out to several analysts for their take on what the move means. Check out what they had to say here.