Amazon Will Invest Up to $4 Billion in Anthropic


By: Mary Jander

Generative AI startup Anthropic has inked a deal to make AWS from Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) its cloud platform of choice, just several months after giving Google Cloud that honor.

According to announcements from both companies, Amazon will invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic and take a minority stake (amount undisclosed) in the startup. In turn, Anthropic will use AWS and Amazon’s Trainium and Inferentia chips to continue training its Claude foundation models. Anthropic also will help Amazon with future iterations of those components.

Anthropic also said it will widen its support for Amazon’s Bedrock, a service announced in April 2023 that allows enterprises to add their own data to popular foundation models via APIs. The service, now in preview, supports models from Anthropic, AI21 Labs, and Stability AI for customized AI applications. Exactly how Anthropic will widen what’s already available in Bedrock isn’t quite clear, but it’s possible that the startup will offer joint customization bundles that incorporate Amazon chips, AWS services, and its own software.

“Since announcing our support of Amazon Bedrock in April, Claude has seen significant organic adoption from AWS customers,” stated Dario Amodei, co-founder and CEO of Anthropic, in Amazon's press release. “By significantly expanding our partnership, we can unlock new possibilities for organizations of all sizes, as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems together with AWS’s leading cloud technology.”

For its part, Amazon said it will incorporate Anthropic's AI into its products and services.

What About Google?

Anthropic’s Amazon deal comes just seven months after the startup announced a partnership with Google Cloud that made that hyperscaler its preferred cloud platform. At the time, Anthropic touted Google Cloud’s “deep expertise in large-scale systems for machine learning” as well as its “values around safe and beneficial development of AI,” something Anthropic has declared its priority.

Anthropic also stated in February 2023 that it would use “large-scale, next-generation TPU and GPU clusters” to be invented by Google Cloud – a reference to Google Cloud’s proprietary Tensor Processing Units and TensorFlow software, the latter of which makes use of graphics processing units from NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA).

Today’s news also comes just four months after Anthropic announced $450 million in Series C funding from a team of investors that included Google and Salesforce. Still, there’s nothing in the announcement with Amazon that indicates the new deal is exclusive. Anthropic’s press release states:

“AWS will become Anthropic’s primary cloud provider for mission critical workloads, providing our team with access to leading compute infrastructure in the form of AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips, which will be used in addition to existing solutions for model training and deployment.” [Emphasis added.]

Futuriom has reached out to Anthropic about the impact the new Amazon arrangement will have on its Google partnership. A spokesperson said Anthropic isn't conducting interviews on the new arrangement nor commenting beyond what is in the press release and Anthropic's blog.

The Power of Ecosystem

Today’s announcement illustrates that the world’s leading cloud providers are caught in fierce competition for generative AI expertise. But it also shows the cloud companies as allies, albeit ambivalent ones, in the larger ecosystem of technology innovation.

Anthropic is unlikely to have severed any relationships with investors Google or Salesforce. Instead, it’s probable that the startup will take advantage of whatever services it requires to grow its Claude models. It's a matter of "both, and."

It is also interesting to note that Amazon has not actually acquired Anthropic, though doing so would have likely been far costlier than this investment. And it is another indication that one or both companies see more advantage in Anthropic staying independent, with access to technologies from a range of players that in turn can fuel both companies' products, than getting locked into a single cloud provider.

Futuriom Take: Amazon has taken a big step into the generative AI field with its investment in Anthropic. But it’s clear that both cloud hyperscaler and startup see more benefit in maintaining their independence in a widening ecosystem of AI partnerships.