Microsoft has disclosed an investment of AU$5 billion aimed at enhancing Australia’s computing prowess as the nation increasingly embraces Artificial Intelligence (AI). This marks the most significant investment by Microsoft in Australia since its inception in the country four decades ago, with funds being allocated towards hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure.
In addition, Redmond company has an agenda to establish nine more local data centers within Australia, with a vision to bolster the nation’s defense against cybersecurity threats.
Financial Commitment and Impact
With an investment estimated at around $3.2 billion, Microsoft intends to amplify Australia’s computing capacity by approximately 250% in the coming two years. It is anticipated that the demand for cloud computing services in the country will nearly double from 2022 to 2026, reaching a market valuation of AU$22.4 billion.
Microsoft has also outlined notable sustainability objectives to be achieved by the decade’s end, ensuring that the forthcoming data centers in Australia adhere to being carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste. However, the growing demand for data centers globally has drawn criticism due to their environmental footprints, given the high-energy computing components they utilize, and the significant waste heat they generate.
Furthermore, Microsoft has pledged support to assist an additional 300,000 Australians in enhancing their skills to thrive in the digital economy landscape.
Industry and Government Reactions
Kate Pounder, the CEO of Tech Council of Australia, expressed a warm welcome for this substantial investment in the nation’s digital infrastructure, highlighting its crucial role in job creation and opportunity expansion in Australia. There is a shared ambition with the Australian Government to have 1.2 million individuals employed in tech-related positions in Australia by 2030.
Echoing this sentiment, Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, emphasized his administration’s priority to ensure that the economic growth benefits permeate through all strata of the Australian populace, necessitating the provision of requisite skills for Australians to excel in future job markets.
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