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Microsoft’s Second Major AI Deal: A Partnership with Mistral

Last Updated : 28 Feb, 2024
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Microsoft has hit a new deal with European AI startup Mistral, marking its second major investment in the field following its partnership with OpenAI. This collaboration signifies Microsoft’s continued push to solidify its position in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

In Short

  • Microsoft announces a new partnership with French AI startup, Mistral.
  • This is Microsoft’s second major AI investment after OpenAI.
  • Mistral’s AI models will be available on Microsoft’s Azure platform.


What is Mistral?

Mistral AI, a Paris-based startup, is renowned for its proficiency in natural language processing and generative AI technologies. Co-founded by alums from Google’s DeepMind and Meta, Mistral AI focuses on open-source solutions and targets enterprises to make AI useful. It’s known for its advanced capabilities within the large language models (LLMs) landscape. Its technology, including the Mistral-7B-v0.1 LLM, is redefining what’s possible in AI technology.

AI Deal Between Microsoft and Mistral

Microsoft has entered into a multiyear partnership with Mistral. This deal involves Microsoft acquiring a minor stake in Mistral and making Mistral’s AI models available on Microsoft’s Azure AI platform. This partnership is a strategic move by Microsoft to diversify its AI offerings beyond OpenAI and to attract more customers for its Azure cloud services. It also provides Mistral an opportunity to roll out its ChatGPT-style multilingual conversational assistant “Le Chat”.

What is Azure AI Platform?

Azure AI is Microsoft’s comprehensive, open, and trusted artificial intelligence platform for enterprises. It offers developers the same proven Azure AI capabilities that power Xbox, HoloLens, Bing, Teams, and Microsoft 365. Azure AI services are cloud-based AI services that help developers build cognitive intelligence into applications without having direct AI or data science skills or knowledge. It includes Azure AI Studio, a unified platform for building, evaluating, and deploying AI solutions using state-of-the-art tools, grounded in responsible AI practices.

Mistral’s AI chatbot “Le Chat”

“Le Chat” is a chat assistant developed by Mistral AI. It’s designed to be a conversational entry point to interact with various models from Mistral AI, such as Mistral Large, Small, or Next. Currently in beta, “Le Chat” can converse in English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian. It provides an accessible and engaging way for users to interact with Mistral’s powerful AI capabilities. This makes it a strong competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Key Focus of the Microsoft-Mistral Deal

The Microsoft-Mistral deal focuses on three main areas:

  1. Supercomputing: Microsoft will provide Mistral with Azure’s AI supercomputing infrastructure for AI training and inference workloads.
  2. Market Expansion: Mistral’s premium models will be available to customers through Azure’s Models as a Service (MaaS).
  3. AI R&D: They will explore collaborations around training specific models for select customers, including European public sector workloads.

AI Capabilities of Azure and Mistral AI

Microsoft’s partnership with Mistral AI, announced at Microsoft Ignite in November 2023, marks a significant expansion of Azure’s AI offerings. The integration of Mistral’s flagship model, Mistral Large, into Azure’s AI model catalog provides customers with a diverse selection of state-of-the-art and open-source models. This partnership not only paves the way for novel AI-driven innovations but also reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to global AI innovation, growth, and security. It ensures that customers can utilize Azure AI Content Safety and responsible AI tools, enhancing the security and reliability of AI solutions.

Benefits for Microsoft from this Partnership

The partnership with Mistral AI is a strategic move for Microsoft. It allows Microsoft to diversify its AI offerings beyond its significant investment in OpenAI. By integrating Mistral’s AI models into its Azure AI platform, Microsoft can offer a wider range of AI solutions to its customers. This not only enhances the value proposition of Azure but also helps attract more customers to its cloud services. Ultimately, this partnership strengthens Microsoft’s position in the competitive AI market.

Mistral’s Role in This AI Deal

In this partnership, Mistral plays a crucial role by bringing its advanced AI technology to Microsoft’s Azure platform. Mistral’s large language models (LLM), the backbone of generative AI products, will be made available on Azure. This allows Azure users to leverage Mistral’s cutting-edge AI capabilities. Furthermore, Mistral will roll out its ChatGPT-style multilingual conversational assistant, “Le Chat,” expanding its reach to new customers. This partnership not only enhances Mistral’s visibility but also allows it to contribute significantly to the evolving AI landscape.

Microsoft and Mistral’s Impact on European AI

The partnership between Microsoft and Mistral AI is a significant development in the European AI landscape. Mistral, a French startup, has already made a substantial impact in Europe with its powerful open-source models. This deal provides Mistral with access to Azure’s cutting-edge AI infrastructure, accelerating the development and deployment of their next-generation Large Language Models (LLMs). For Microsoft, this partnership strengthens its presence in Europe, establishing it more firmly in the European AI market. This collaboration is set to drive impactful progress in the AI industry.


Microsoft’s partnership with Mistral is a clear indication of the tech giant’s commitment to advancing the AI industry. By making Mistral’s AI models available on its Azure platform, Microsoft is not only diversifying its AI offerings but also strengthening its position in the competitive AI market.


What is the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI?

Microsoft and OpenAI have a long-term partnership involving multi-billion dollar investments to accelerate AI breakthroughs, with Microsoft being OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider.

What is Mistral Large?

Mistral Large is an advanced Large Language Model (LLM) developed by Mistral AI, proficient in multiple languages and capable of handling a wide range of language-based tasks.

Is OpenAI fully owned by Microsoft?

No, Microsoft does not fully own OpenAI. It has a minority economic interest and is entitled to up to 49% of the for-profit arm of OpenAI’s profits.

Who is the founder of Mistral?

Mistral AI was founded by Arthur Mensch, Timothée Lacroix, and Guillaume Lample, who were previously employed by Meta and Google DeepMind.

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