G42, the Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company, and the US technology giant Microsoft have announced the next phase of their strategic partnership to boost the cloud and technology infrastructure in the UAE.
They will co-innovate and deliver advanced artificial intelligence capabilities and expand the existing data centre infrastructure in the Emirates.
“This strategic collaboration with Microsoft is not just about technology … it's about creating a holistic ecosystem for societal resilience and growth,” Peng Xiao, group chief executive of G42, said.
“By combining our respective expertise and shared forward-thinking approach, we aim to not only transform industries but also create positive economic opportunities and lasting impacts on the well-being of individuals, communities, and society as a whole,” Mr Xiao said.
Tuesday’s announcement marked the first significant outcome since G42 and Microsoft announced their intention to partner in April this year.
The partnership will see Microsoft expand its Azure cloud service in the UAE through Khazna Data Centres, a joint venture between G42 and telecoms company e&, formerly known as Etisalat.
Microsoft’s sovereign cloud offering will allow the UAE public sector and regulated industries to use new platform capabilities for securing sensitive data, providing access to the latest cloud and AI features, and helping them comply with local privacy and regulatory requirements, the company said in a statement.
The companies will also focus on bringing AI-enabled industry customised solutions for various sectors such as health, life sciences, energy, sustainability and projects of national significance – for example, the Cop28 climate summit that will be held in the UAE later this year.
Public cloud is a deployment model where computing resources are owned and operated by a service provider and shared by various tenants or companies.
For businesses, moving to a cloud system hosted by a specialised company – such as Microsoft, Oracle, AWS or SAP – is more economical than creating their own infrastructure of servers, hardware and security networks, industry experts said. It also brings down the overall cost of ownership.
In the cloud industry, businesses pay only for those selective services or resources they use over a period of time.
The partnership will empower public sector customers with next-generation AI solutions built on the “most trusted, comprehensive and integrated cloud platform”, Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said.
“With data privacy, security and compliance as our core priorities, we have a unique opportunity to help organisations responsibly innovate for the benefit of citizens and residents across the UAE,” Mr Althoff said.
Microsoft expects its cloud services portfolio to add more than $39 billion and about 100,000 jobs to the UAE economy in the next four years, a study released in October last year found.
The UAE is seeking to cement its position as a global capital of the digital economy.
The national digital economy is expected to grow to more than $140 billion in 2031, up from today’s nearly $38 billion, according to a report by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers.
In July, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, launched a new cloud technology project as the emirate aims to boost its tech infrastructure and accelerate the pace of its digital transformation.
The UAE also approved the formation of the Higher Committee for Government Digital Transformation last year as the country presses forward with plans to develop a digital economy and make use of future technology.