Microsoft To Open AI Hub In London After Suleyman Hire

Microsoft is to open a London hub for its new consumer artificial intelligence (AI) division headed by Jordan Hoffmann, who joined the company from start-up Inflection AI last month.

At the time Microsoft hired most of Inflection’s staff, including chief executive Mustafa Suleyman, who now heads Microsoft’s consumer AI division.

The company reportedly paid $650 million (£514m) to Inflection as part of the mass hiring deal, which effectively turned Inflection into a much smaller company with a less ambitious business model.

Suleyman founded Inflection in 2022 and had poached AI researchers from the likes of DeepMind – which he co-founded in the UK in 2010 – and Meta Platforms.

AI researcher Jordan Hoffmann. Image credit: Jordan Hoffmann

AI talent

Hoffmann was a former PhD student who joined DeepMind as a research scientist in 2020, then followed Suleyman to Inflection.

DeepMind, which has been a unit of Google since 2014, remains headquartered in London, putting it in direct competition with the new Microsoft hub.

OpenAI, in which Microsoft is a major investor, opened its first overseas office in London last year. Suleyman said the new office would “collaborate closely” with OpenAI.

Suleyman in a blog post called Hoffmann an “exceptional AI scientist and engineer” and said the company would be posting job listings in the “coming weeks and months” to build out a workforce of “exceptional individuals” at the new base near Paddington.

“There is an enormous pool of AI talent and expertise in the UK,” Suleyman wrote.

Mustafa Suleyman. Image credit: Deepmind

‘Best AI scientists’

“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.”

The hub is to be focused on developing new language models and associated infrastructure and tooling, Suleyman said, without disclosing how many jobs would be created.

AI minister Viscount Camrose said the move was a “vote of confidence in the UK’s status as a global leader in AI innovation”, noting that the sector employs more than 50,000 people across the country and contributes £3.7bn to the economy.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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