Databricks is a data analytics platform that uses artificial intelligence. It garnered much attention even before Microsoft announced it is planning to sell a new version of Databricks software that helps customers make AI apps for their businesses.
Microsoft would make this available through its Azure cloud-server unit to help companies make AI models from scratch or repurpose open-source models. This provides an alternative to licensing OpenAI’s proprietary open-source models. That’s the catch. It’s game on for GenAI and AI dominance.
Last July, Microsoft announced an aggressive spending plan to meet the demand for its new AI services, and this followed strong fiscal fourth-quarter revenue and profits.
Microsoft invested early in OpenAI, owner of the popular ChatGPT service, pouring in some $10 billion.
Now, Microsoft is weaving AI into its own products, such as the $30-a-month “Copilot” assistant for its Microsoft 365 service that can summarize a day’s worth of emails into a quick update.
The company has started integrating AI functionality across Azure, Microsoft 365, GitHub and several developer tools.
Databricks looking for funding
Databricks said it generated $1 billion in annual revenues, with a 70 percent growth in returns. Yet, it is in early discussions with investors for a new cash infusion. It looks to capitalize on the excitement over AI.
The company has lost some $900 million in its last two fiscal years, but breakeven is on the horizon, according to published reports.
The hype around the company is driven by enterprise enthusiasm about generative AI applications such as ChatGPT.
Databricks Chief Executive Ali Ghodsi told Bloomberg recently that his company is one of the fastest-growing software firms in the world, with customers desperate to use its platform to organize their data and fuel new advances in AI.
THe firm is staying out of the IPO market to raise funds allowing it to invest freely in AI without shareholder restraints.
The company had also announced its open-source generative AI model to compete with ChatGPT, called Dolly.
Databricks said the release is geared toward democratizing large language models (LLMs). It will allow millions of smaller firms to build and develop their own customized GenAI models.
Launched last March, the model was improved with the release of Dolly 2.0 just one month later.
Databricks capabilities also include Lakehouse IQ, which uses LLMs to infer business meaning from technical data artifacts. It also announced new vector search capabilities that make it easier to find content to feed generative AI models.
Databricks has appeal to it as it possesses a multi-cloud strategy path and a strong advantage over other data platforms. This appeal is related to how it unifies data. It also allows developers to build analytical AI applications across heterogeneous data sources.
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