Microsoft outlines its transition from the “PC on every desktop” company to a leader in machine learning

Dennis Bednarz

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Microsoft, once known as the personal computing behemoth, now seems to have changed its nickname. The company updated their Azure blog with a post about from “A PC on every desktop” to “Deep Learning in every software”.

Microsoft has been slowly drifting away from focusing on Windows, Xbox and other products aside from the cloud and machine learning. Microsoft is “Cloud first, mobile first” nowadays and that does not include any of Microsoft’s “known” and successful products. The Azure service and services that deeply utilise AI and ML have been the most actively developed ones over at the technology giant and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

“Deep learning is behind many recent breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence, including speech recognition, language understanding and computer vision. At Microsoft, it is changing customer experience in many of our applications and services, including Cortana, Bing, Office 365, SwiftKey, Skype Translate, Dynamics 365, and HoloLens.”

Deep learning is behind many technologies that Microsoft uses in their services, like Skype translation, SwiftKey prediction, and much mush more. Skype was recently named one of the 7 greatest software innovations of the year by Popular Science and that is definitely something Microsoft can be proud over as Skype has evolved very well, adding new features, supporting Windows 10 Holographic, and much more.

“In theBenchmarking State-of-the-Art Deep Learning Software Toolspaper published in September 2016, academic researchers have run a comparative study of the state-of-the-art GPU-accelerated deep learning software tools, including Caffe, Cognitive Toolkit, TensorFlow, and Torch.”

“Our Cognitive Toolkit outperformed other deep learning toolkits on nearly every workload. Furthermore, Nvidia recently has also run a benchmark comparing all the popular Deep Learning toolkits with their latest hardware.”

“The results show that the Cognitive Toolkit trains and evaluates deep learning algorithms faster than other available toolkits, scaling efficiently in a range of environments-from a CPU, to GPUs, to multiple machines-while maintaining accuracy.”

Microsoft is outperforming the competition in terms of performance, according to Nvidia, a trusted GPU-silicon hardware manufacturer and reference design licenser. The tests  were also performed by academic researchers and showed that Microsoft’s Deep Learning toolkit outperforms the competition, as well as is the most advanced alternative.

This may not be easy to understand for regular consumers, but that is where Microsoft is heading. Businesses and Enterprises are interested in services, and cloud and machine learning are therefore very important for Microsoft, it’s shareholders and Satya Nadella.

Microsoft is definitely heading in some specific way, and only time can tell if it’s the right way. Let us know in the comments if you think Microsoft’s direction is the correct one.