Build Developer Conference: Microsoft To Launch AI PCs

Microsoft’s Build developer conference commences on Tuesday, which will allow the corporation to present its most recent AI initiatives after prominent gatherings this month organised by OpenAI and Google.

TakeAway Points:

  • In Seattle on Tuesday, Microsoft will kick off its Build developer conference.
  • It is anticipated that the company will reveal how Windows will power the AI PC.
  • Qualcomm chips are likely to power some next-generation Windows computers.

Microsoft’s AI PC

Microsoft has a huge advantage over competitors in the AI race due to the size of its PC user base because it owns Windows.

In January, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella declared that artificial intelligence (AI) will become a “first-class part of every PC” in 2024.

The company currently provides its Copilot chatbot assistance with Office productivity software and the Bing search engine for a price. Now, more information regarding AI integration into Windows and its potential applications on upcoming AI PCs will be made available to PC users.

Build takes place a few days after Google I/O, where the search engine giant debuted its most potent AI model to date and demonstrated how its Gemini AI will function on smartphones and PCs. The GPT-4o model was unveiled by OpenAI ahead of Google’s event. Microsoft is the primary investor in OpenAI, and OpenAI’s models serve as the foundation for its Copilot technology.

Microsoft intends to Maintain its Leading Position

Maintaining a leading position in AI and improving PC sales—which have been stagnant for the past two years due to an upgrade cycle during the pandemic—are Microsoft’s two main challenges. 

Morgan Stanley analyst Erik Woodring recently wrote in a note to investors on Dell that he is still “bullish on the PC market recovery,” citing customer feedback and recent “upward revisions to notebook” original design manufacturer (ODM) builds. 

Gartner, a research firm for the technology industry, estimated that PC shipments increased by 0.9% in the quarter following a multi-year decline. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood stated last month that demand for PCs was “slightly better than expected.”

According to the report, Microsoft’s new AI technologies may give business and individual customers—regardless of whether they are built by HP, Dell, or Lenovo—an additional incentive to replace their outdated PCs.

“While Copilot for Windows does not directly drive monetization it should, we believe, drive up usage of Windows, stickiness of Windows, customers to higher priced more powerful PCs (and therefore more revenue to Microsoft per device), and likely search revenue,” Bernstein analysts wrote in a note to investors on April 26, the day after Microsoft reported earnings.

Microsoft’s machines will be powered by chips from AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm for offline AI work, but it will also supply the software to handle part of the AI tasks uploaded to the internet. This might involve, for instance, speaking to Copilot to request that it summarise a transcription in the absence of a link.

Mircosoft’s AI PC

The report stated that the neural processing unit is the main piece of hardware added to an AI PC. NPUs are specialised artificial intelligence processors that perform activities beyond the scope of conventional central processing units (CPUs). Historically, businesses such as Apple have employed them for voice recognition or to enhance images and videos.

Microsoft has not yet disclosed the capabilities of AI computers that are not connected to the internet. However, Google’s Pixel 8 Pro phone, which lacks a complete computer processor, uses its Gemini Nano AI to summarise and transcribe recordings, suggest text message replies, and more.

Later in 2024, computers equipped with Intel’s most recent Lunar Lake CPUs and a dedicated NPU are anticipated. In the middle of this year, Qualcomm will release its Snapdragon X Elite chip with an NPU, and AMD’s most recent Ryzen Pro is anticipated to launch within the next three months.

According to Intel, the chips enable “automated inferencing, real-time language translation, and better gaming settings.”

Since introducing the M4 chip for the iPad Pro, Apple has been utilising NPUs for a long time. Early in the year, the upcoming Mac iteration is anticipated to use the M4 chip.