Microsoft commits $2.1bn to AI investment in Spain 

After Germany gets €3.3 billion, Microsoft spreads its AI largesse to Spain

Microsoft has announced it will spend $2.1bn to expand its AI and cloud infrastructure in Spain over the next two years. The investment was revealed after Microsoft chair and vice president Brad Smith (above, left) met with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (above, right) and follows the US software giant’s commitment to spend €3.3 billion in Germany by the end of 2025 to massively expand its data centre capacity for artificial intelligence applications.

Sánchez added they had together analysed “cooperation opportunities to strengthen cybersecurity and promote artificial intelligence in Public Administration.”

“Our investment is beyond just building data centres, it’s a testament to our 37-year commitment to Spain, its security, and development and digital transformation of its government, businesses, and people,” Smith said on X.

On the German investment, Smith said the company was planning to double AI infrastructure capacity in the country and help boost skills in using AI. Microsoft’s investment programme also includes a training and professional development campaign, which aims to familiarise up to 1.2 million people with the potential of AI.

While in Spain at the Microsoft AI & Innovation Summit, which saw more than 3000 customers and partners attending – Smith launched the Responsible AI Innovation Centre (RAIIC) to help Spanish organisations in the deployment of Artificial Intelligence projects.

Accenture, Avanade, Capgemini, DXC Technology, Encamina, EY, Insight, KPMG, Minsait, NTT DATA, Plain Concepts, PwC, SEIDOR, SoftwareOne, Telefónica Tech and Tokiota were announced as Microsoft business partners that will collaborate in the Responsible AI Innovation Center (RAIIC) in Spain. Partners will have exclusive access to materials and strategic information about the development of Microsoft technologies and solutions based on Responsible AI, as well as training and certification in the company’s AI technologies.

The centre will offer specialised services to Spanish companies and public administrations, including: workshops for the definition and development of AI use cases; technical technological architecture design sessions; rapid prototyping workshops; strategy planning for AI use cases; responsible AI development frameworks; and specific training programs in AI development and implementation.

Spain is no slouch in AI but needs a boost

According to IDC data, 62% of large companies and public organisations in Spain already use AI and 25% plan to do so in the next 24 months. Among the objectives or results they hope to achieve with their investments in AI, the most common is an improvement in operational efficiency, followed by cost savings and an improvement in business agility.

Spanish organisations have substantially accelerated their intensity of use of Generative AI in 2023, which has multiplied by 5.7 between the third and fourth quarters of last year, according to Microsoft data, placing Spain in fourth place in Europe. The proportion of people with AI skills is lower in Spain than in other countries (14th position in Europe) according to LinkedIn data. Although this figure has improved significantly (51%) in 2023, Microsoft said it highlights the need to invest more in AI training. Finally, Spain occupies 15th position in Europe in terms of the number of AI software developers, according to data from GitHub.

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