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Microsoft to launch new AI centre in London

The new hub will assist Microsoft in creating new large language models and complement its existing multi-billion pound investment in the UK technology scene.

By Greg Noone

Microsoft has announced that it will open a new AI hub in London. Based out of the software giant’s Paddington office, the new laboratory is to be led by former Deepmind and Inflection engineer Jordan Hoffman. Hoffman will be supported by an existing network of Microsoft AI experts, said the firm, with new team members to be hired in the next months. 

“Microsoft AI London will drive pioneering work to advance state-of-the-art language models and their supporting infrastructure, and to create world-class tooling for foundation models, collaborating closely with our AI teams across Microsoft and with our partners, including OpenAI,” wrote Mustafa Suleyman, Microsoft AI’s executive vice-president and CEO, in a statement. “There is an enormous pool of AI talent and expertise in the UK, and Microsoft AI plans to make a significant, long-term investment in the region as we begin hiring the best AI scientists and engineers into this new AI hub.”

An exterior shot of a Microsoft facility in London.
A Microsoft facility in London. The software giant’s announcement of a new AI hub in Paddington deepens its commitment to the UK tech scene. (Photo by Taljat David / Shutterstock)

Microsoft Paddington AI centre a “vote of confidence” in UK tech scene

The new hub in Paddington, Suleyman continued, will complement Microsoft’s existing AI laboratory in Cambridge. It also follows the firm’s announcement that it will spend some £2.5bn on the installation of 20,000 advanced GPUs in the UK and an upskilling program for British workers to prepare them for the increased presence of AI in the country’s public and private sectors. 

“I know – through my close work with thought leaders in the UK government, business community, and academia – that the country is committed to advancing AI responsibly and with a safety-first commitment to drive investment, innovation and economic growth,” said Suleyman. “Our decision to open this hub in the UK reflects this ambition.”

Microsoft’s decision to expand its presence in London was greeted as a vote of confidence in the UK tech scene by Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates. “AI is already helping people to work more efficiently and creatively, and it’s vital for the UK’s status as a world-leading tech ecosystem that it remains at the forefront of research and innovation into the technology,” he said in a statement. 

Software giant viewed with sceptical eye by CMA

The announcement also comes amid heightened regulatory scrutiny of Microsoft by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA.) The software giant has repeatedly come under the watchful eye of the antitrust watchdog since 2023, with the agency temporarily blocking Microsoft’s proposed takeover of Activision toward the end of that year. In October, meanwhile, the CMA launched another investigation into alleged anticompetitive practices perpetrated by Microsoft in the UK’s cloud computing market, to be concluded in April 2025. This was followed by the announcement of an “Invitation to Comment” probe in December into Redmond’s close relationship with GPT-4 creator OpenAI

“The partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI (including a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment, collaboration in technology development and exclusive provision of cloud services by Microsoft to OpenAI) represents a close, multi-faced relationship between two firms with significant activities in [foundation models] and related markets,” said the CMA in December. Though the deadline for interested stakeholders to submit their views to the regulator expired in January 2024, the CMA has yet to issue an update on whether this probe will advance to a Phase 2 investigation. 

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