April 22, 2024
Mistral AI makes waves with deals across tech giants including Microsoft, IBM

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Paris-based startup Mistral AI has cemented itself as a rising star in the artificial intelligence world, landing major partnerships with IBM, Microsoft, and others just one year after its founding. 

The fledgling company is moving fast to commercialize its state-of-the-art natural language processing models and conversational AI capabilities. Mistral unveiled its flagship commercial model, Mistral Large, on Monday through a deal with Microsoft to offer it via the Azure cloud platform. This makes Mistral only the second provider after OpenAI to offer a commercial large language model on Azure.

Mistral Large is designed to compete head-to-head with OpenAI’s dominant GPT-3 and GPT-4 models by generating human-like text and conversing knowledgeably on a wide range of topics. According to Mistral’s benchmarks, it is the world’s second most capable commercial language model behind GPT-4.

Mistral-Large ranks second among all models generally available through an API and provides top-tier reasoning capabilities, according to the company (Credit: Mistral)

Microsoft deal signals Mistral as top AI innovator

Securing a deal with Microsoft to deploy Mistral Large on Azure is a huge vote of confidence in Mistral’s AI technology. Microsoft has almost certainly assessed Mistral’s capabilities and clearly determined the startup is leading the way in AI innovation and can provide significant value to Azure customers.

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The Microsoft partnership represents a major endorsement of Mistral’s technology and validates them as a pioneer in natural language processing. Microsoft has positioned itself as a leader in the AI industry in the past year alone, so aligning with Mistral demonstrates that Microsoft views them as a top developer in the field that can enhance Azure’s offerings — and positions Microsoft to be less reliant on OpenAI in the future.

IBM agreement continues to expand Mistral’s reach

The 9-month-old French startup has also inked an agreement this week with IBM to provide an optimized version of its open source Mistral-8x7B model on the IBM Watson AI platform. This allows enterprises to tap into Mistral’s AI capabilities alongside IBM’s own offerings. 

The IBM partnership demonstrates that Mistral is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy focused on making its technology available everywhere through cloud platforms and collaborations. Providing its models on Watson gives Mistral reach into IBM’s enormous customer base and lets enterprises combine strengths of both companies’ AI.

Mistral is quickly establishing itself as an AI platform, not just a standalone company. The IBM deal shows Mistral wants its models and technology to become integral to diverse organizations by being accessible through major AI ecosystems.

Swift progress positions Mistral as key player

Mistral’s ascent has been remarkably swift since its founding last year by former Facebook AI researchers Guillaume Lample and Timothée Lacroix, and former Google DeepMind researcher Arthur Mensch. The company has kept a relatively low profile, but this week has been a breakout moment for the young startup.

In just one year, Mistral has made incredible progress developing large language models that rival far more established players. The speed at which Mistral is releasing advanced generative AI systems demonstrates their proficiency in natural language processing.

Backed by $415 million in funding, Mistral appears positioned to compete head-to-head with dominant players like OpenAI and Anthropic as it courts more partnerships. While its revenue numbers remain undisclosed, Mistral’s commercial prospects look bright as demand for generative AI booms across industries from marketing to drug discovery.

With deals across several tech giants already secured, eyes will be on Mistral to see what other partnerships it can land as it aims to become a major force in generative AI alongside more established players.

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