Microsoft Fuels Swedish Billion-Dollar Cloud & AI Investment

Microsoft is investing into renewable energy and has procured nearly 1,000 MW of renewable energy in Sweden
Microsoft is investing into renewable energy and has procured nearly 1,000 MW of renewable energy in Sweden
Tech giant Microsoft announces US$3.2bn investment into Sweden to expand cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure over a two-year period

Microsoft seeks to invest in AI and cloud developments in Sweden, its largest-ever bet in the Nordic country yet.

Seeking to make the most of the country’s rich supply of green energy, the world-leading technology corporation will be investing 33.7 billion Swedish crowns (US$3.2bn) to expand infrastructure over two years. The move cements Microsoft’s footprint across Sweden by adding 20,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) at its three data centres in the country.

Likewise, the company is also committed to training 250,000 individuals in ‘essential AI skills’, according to a statement on Monday 3rd June.

“This large investment reflects our belief in how much Sweden can benefit from AI,” comments Microsoft Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith. He praised Sweden as “one of the continent’s most innovative countries,” while adding that the nation will only remain so if it uses AI.

More announcements are expected in the coming months.

Helping Sweden advance in the global AI race

As demands for AI intensify around the world, the disruptive technology has fuelled demand for cloud services. As a result, big tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are starting to invest billions of dollars into data centre sites across Europe to fuel innovation.

Microsoft in particular has invested heavily in several countries within the continent, including the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and Spain.

The tech giant has also invested further afield and is putting US$1.7bn in Indonesia's cloud and AI future, as announced in April 2024. Much like Sweden, this initiative will seek to offer new infrastructure, major AI skilling initiatives and support for the growing developer community.

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Within Sweden, the company will use Nvidia’s faster processors and, as reported by Reuters, semiconductors from AMD - in addition to some of its own chips. The company itself stated that it was committed to boosting AI adoption across the Nordic region, including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

The global AI race has led to a surge in demand for advanced chips, as businesses are keen to better support their complex innovations. Sweden in particular seeks to boost its national AI use, having launched a more comprehensive National Technology Strategy (NTS) at the start of 2024 to bolster its business competitiveness internationally.

Accelerating sustainable technology

One of the reasons as to why the Nordics have become so popular for technology companies is because of their sustainability. The countries hold an abundance of renewable energies, including hydropower.

As a result, companies that operate data centres are looking to benefit from cheap electricity to power more green-led projects in the next decade.

With this in mind, Microsoft is investing into renewable energy and has procured nearly 1,000 MW of renewable energy in Sweden.

In addition to harnessing clean energy, Microsoft also plans to train thousands of Swedes on AI skills within organisations, schools, universities and the public sector over the next few years. This is a similar initiative to several other countries that Microsoft currently operates in, including a commitment to teach more than two million people about AI across India by 2025.

“AI is a tech transformation that should be seen as a multiplier or catalyst,” says Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Sweden. “It is part of the strategy going forward when, after successfully fighting inflation, we enter a new investment phase.”

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