Watch out ChatGPT — Mistral just cut a huge deal with Microsoft for GPT-4 level AI model

Mistral and Microsoft partnership
(Image credit: Mistral and Microsoft)

Unless you are immersed in the world of artificial intelligence you may not have heard of Mistral, a French startup building a series of impressive large language models to rival OpenAI.

That is likely to change after the company signed a multi-year deal with Microsoft to bring its next-generation, GPT-4-level AI model Mistral Large to the Azure cloud.

Mistral isn't even a year old as a company but is worth more than $2 billion and has created a range of models that come close to or rival those of major players like OpenAI and Google, particularly the new Mistral Large.

As part of the new update and partnership, Mistral is also rolling out its rival to ChatGPT called ‘Le Chat’, a conversation entry point for accessing various models. 

Mistral strikes a deal with Microsoft

We've shown that with a small team focused on creating the best text generation models, we can develop world-class technology.

Arthur Mensch, Mistral

Mistral makes large language models. Microsoft's Azure cloud platform includes an AI library of models including those from OpenAI. This deal will see Mistral Large and the older, open-source models added to that library.

Mistral Large is the first model from the French startup that compares with Gemini Ultra and GPT-4 on common benchmarks and tests. But unlike previous Mistral models, it won't be open source.

Arthur Mensch, the computer scientist co-founder of Mistral told La Monde the company's agility gave it the edge against the larger, more well-established players, and allowed it to strike deals with Microsoft and others. 

"Yes, we can compete with OpenAI or Google. Agility is a strength," he explained in the interview. "We've shown that with a small team focused on creating the best text generation models, we can develop world-class technology." 

Mensch was part of the Gemini project team while at Google before founding Mistral and said that now they've cracked the technology — it is time to focus on distribution and getting it into the hands of developers. "That's what the partnership with Microsoft is all about," he said.

Where will Mistral Large be available?

The partnership with Microsoft Azure offers more than just a place to sell access to its latest models for Mistral, it is also a longer-term deal that included the tech giant taking a minority stake in the startup.

This isn't unusual, Microsoft has a $10 billion investment in OpenAI, Amazon has invested in Anthropic and Google is invested in all of them.

For now, Mistral Large will be available through Microsoft's Azure cloud, as well as on the Mistral website through its API and Le Chat.

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