Microsoft now has a clearer vision than Google in the AI wars


A week ago, Microsoft held its Build developer conference in its backyard in Seattle. This week, Google did the same in an amphitheater right next to its Mountain View campus. While Microsoft’s event felt like it embodied the resurgence of the company under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Google I/O — and especially its various, somewhat scattershot keynotes — fell flat this year.

The two companies have long been rivals, of course, but now — maybe more than ever — they are on a collision course that has them compete in cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, productivity applications and virtual and augmented reality.

It’s fascinating to compare Pichai’s and Nadella’s keynote segments. Both opened their respective shows. But while Pichai used his time mostly to announce new stats and a new product or two, Nadella instead used his time on stage to talk about the opportunities and risks of the inevitable march of technological progress that went way beyond saying that his company is now ‘AI first.’ “Let us use technology to bring more empowerment to more people,” Nadella said of one of the core principles of what he wants his company to focus on. “When we have these amazing advances in computer vision, or speech, or text understanding — let us use that to bring more people to use technology and to participate economically in our society.”

And while Google mostly celebrated itself during its main I/O keynote, Nadella spent a good chunk of time during his segment on celebrating and empowering developers in a way that felt very genuine.

Having spent a few days at both events, I couldn’t help coming home thinking that it may be Microsoft that has the more complete vision for this AI-first world we’ll soon live in — and if Google has it, it didn’t do a good job articulating it at I/O this year.

Read the source article at Tech Crunch.