Cloud computing continues to transform the global economy, especially as it begins to merge with AI.
In March, Google Cloud announced a partnership with Midjourney to help power that company’s AI-powered visual imagery tool and natural language interface. Midjourney will be using Google Cloud’s custom AI accelerators (which run on GPUs built by Nvidia) to train its fourth-generation AI model. Access to Google Cloud will allow Midjourney to provide users with scalable, secure, and stable infrastructure for image generation.1
Google also announced a new program called Built with Google Cloud AI, tailored to the needs of startups building with generative AI. Built with Google Cloud AI will provide select partners building the next generation of AI and machine learning platforms with access to Google Cloud engineering teams who can help design and optimize their applications to run as-a-service on Google Cloud infrastructure as well as training and co-marketing support as they bring their products to market.2
However, the big player in AI on the cloud remains to be Microsoft. As a first mover that has poured billions into OpenAI and ChatGPT, Microsoft is currently adding AI into a range of its products, from Office 365 and its new cybersecurity offering Microsoft Security Copilot, to its often-overlooked search engine, Bing. In March, Microsoft announced that Bing—now running OpenAI’s newest GPT-4 model—hit a total of 100 million daily active users for the first time.
By adding generative AI capabilities to its suite of offerings, Microsoft (the second largest cloud provider behind Amazon) could make its cloud services more attractive to potential customers and help make up for slowing cloud revenue growth in the post-pandemic era.3
Updates on Cloud Companies
Nvidia unveiled new cutting-edge chips and strategic partnerships focused on AI and cloud computing at its annual developer conference in March. With its already powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) driving ChatGPT and other generative AI models, Nvidia aims to expand its infrastructure to enable faster performance of AI applications for a wider customer base.
One notable innovation is Nvidia’s upgraded H100 NVL chip, specifically optimized for large language models like ChatGPT. This advanced chip boasts a twelve-fold increase in processing speed compared to Nvidia’s current A100 GPUs that are widely used in data centers. In fact, Microsoft recently disclosed that it had to interconnect tens of thousands of A100s to meet the skyrocketing cloud demands of OpenAI, underscoring the need for faster and more efficient solutions.4
Salesforce Ventures, the venture capital arm of Salesforce, announced that it is setting up a $250 million fund to invest in generative AI startups. Previous Salesforce Ventures that later went public include Zoom Video Communications Inc. and DocuSign Inc.
Salesforce also unveiled its own generative AI tools for its cloud-based customer relationship management software. Called “Einstein GPT” and built with OpenAI’s generative text models, the new functionality allows users to draft text like customer service responses or initial sales emails using AI.5
This pivot toward AI comes as Salesforce focuses on improving overall profitability, which has included a 10% reduction in its workforce. This renewed focus has helped the stock climb more than 43% so far this year, wiping out almost all losses from 2022.6
Investing in Cloud Computing with DATA ETF
If you’re interested in investing in a cloud computing ETF, consider the Evolve Cloud Computing Index Fund (DATA ETF), Canada’s first cloud computing ETF. DATA ETF invests primarily in equity securities of companies located domestically or internationally that have business operations in the field of cloud computing. To learn more about DATA ETF, please click here: https://evolveetfs.com/data/.
Portfolio Strategy and Activity
For the month, Salesforce Inc. made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Zscaler Inc, followed by Datadog Inc. and Splunk Inc. On last rebalance, these securities were added to the portfolio: Coupa Software Inc, Descartes Systems Group Inc, and UiPath Inc.
- “Midjourney Selects Google Cloud to Power AI-Generated Creative Platform,” PR Newswire, March 14, 2023; https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/midjourney-selects-google-cloud-to-power-ai-generated-creative-platform-301771558.html
- Ichhpurani, K., “Building the most open and innovative AI ecosystem,” Google Cloud, March 14, 2023; https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/ai-machine-learning/building-an-open-generative-ai-partner-ecosystem
- Howley, D., “Microsoft is dominating the AI wars…for now,” Yahoo Finance, March 29, 2023; https://finance.yahoo.com/news/microsoft-is-dominating-the-ai-warsfor-now-200037880.html
- Carr, A., “Nvidia’s Next-Gen AI Chips Are Coming to AWS and Google Cloud,” Bloomberg, March 21, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-21/nvidia-s-next-gen-ai-chips-are-coming-to-aws-and-google-cloud
- Ford, B., “Salesforce Launches $250 Million Fund for Generative AI Startups,” Bloomberg, March 7, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-07/salesforce-launches-250-million-fund-for-generative-ai-startups
- Ford, B., “Salesforce Considers More Job Cuts Amid Profit Push, COO Says,” Bloomberg, March 24, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-24/salesforce-considers-more-job-cuts-amid-profit-push-coo-says