Microsoft has announced a A$5bn ($3.2bn) investment in Australia over the next two years to boost its artificial intelligence (AI) and hyperscale cloud computing infrastructure.
The US technology major said the investment will boost its computing capacity by 250%, enabling it to meet the demand for cloud computing services in Australia.
With the capital infusion, Microsoft’s datacentre sites in the country are expected to increase from 20 to 29 across Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.
As part of announcement, Microsoft will help upskill 300,000 Australians as part of its worldwide skills programmes.
Additionally, Microsoft is working with vocational education and training provider TAFE NSW to open its first Datacenter Academy in Australia in early 2024.
The curriculum of the academy will focus on the essential functions of core operational positions, such as data centre technicians, specialists in critical environments, professionals in inventory and asset management, and IT operations staff.
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Furthermore, Microsoft and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) will work together on an initiative known as the Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield (MACS).
MACS aims to protect Australian residents, businesses and government bodies from cyber threats and build new cybersecurity solutions.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “This is a major investment in the skills and workers of the future, which will help Australia to strengthen our position as a world-leading economy. A priority for my Government is to ensure all Australians benefit from economic growth.
“A strong economy requires protection from cyber threats. I welcome Microsoft’s collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate to enhance cybersecurity for households and business.”
Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith said: “This is our largest investment in Microsoft’s 40-year history in Australia and a testament to our commitment to the country’s growth and prosperity in the AI era.
“We are coupling this A$5bn in computing capacity and capabilities with AI and engineering that will strengthen the nation’s cyber defence, including a deeper collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate.”
Earlier in October 2023, it was reported that Microsoft is planning to launch its first AI chip at its annual developers conference in November 2023.