Microsoft is investing A$5 billion over the next two years to expand its hyperscale cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure in Australia.
The company will also grow its datacentre footprint from 20 to 29; extend its global skills program to offer more than 300,000 people training in AI and cloud technologies; and collaborate with the Australian Signals Directorate on a major cybersecurity initiative.
‘This is our largest investment in Microsoft’s 40-year history in Australia and a testament to our commitment to the country’s growth and prosperity in the AI era,’ says Brad Smith, Microsoft Vice Chair and President.
“This is a major investment in the skills and workers of the future, which will help Australia to strengthen our position as a world-leading economy,’ says Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Expanding Australia’s computing capacity
Microsoft’s digital infrastructure investment will grow its computing capacity by around 250%. This will enable the company to meet Australia’s growing demand for cloud computing services, which is expected to almost double from A$12.2 billion in 2022 to A$22.4 billion in 2024. Microsoft will low-carbon materials and renewable energy to build its new data centres.
The investment will also enable Australia to capitalise on the significant economic and productivity opportunities presented by the latest AI technology. A Tech Council of Australia and Microsoft report found that generative AI – if adopted at an accelerated pace – could contribute as much as A$115 billion a year to Australia’s economy by 2030.
Building Australian tech skills and capability
To support Australia’s goal of having 1.2 million people in tech-related jobs by 2030, Microsoft will extend its global skills program to help more than 300,000 Australians gain the capabilities to thrive in a cloud and AI-enabled economy. The company will provide access to learning resources, certifications and job-seeking tools.
Microsoft is also working with TAFE NSW to open its first Datacentre Academy in Australia in early 2024. The academy’s curriculum will align with operational roles, including datacentre technicians and critical environment specialists.
The academy will provide alternative employment pathways into the Australia’s tech sector, with a focus on under-represented groups including women and Indigenous Australians.
Strengthening Australia’s cyber defences
Microsoft will collaborate with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) on an initiative called the Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield (MACS). The initiative aims to improve protection from cyber threats for Australian residents, businesses and government. Microsoft will work with ASD to build next-generation cybersecurity solutions.
Find out more about Australia’s A$167 billion digital technology sector.
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Published: 31 October 2023