Tech News

Russian Developers Blocked From Contributing To FOSS Tools

news - Posted On:2023-03-21 19:30:00 Source: slashdot

The Reg has seen two recent incidents of Russian developers being blocked from public development of FOSS code. One was a refusal on the Linux kernel mailing list, the other a more general block on Github. In the last week, these events have both caused active, and sometimes heated, discussions in FOSS developer communities. From the report: The GitHub account of developer Alexander Amelkin has been blocked, and his repositories marked as "archived" â" including ipmitool, whose README describes it as "a utility for managing and configuring devices that support the Intelligent Platform Management Interface." Unable to comment on Github itself, Amelkin described what happened on the project's older Soureforge page. Amelkin works for Russian chipbuilder Yadro, which we described as working on RISC-V chips back in 2021. Microsoft is just obeying US law in this: according to the War and Sanctions database of the Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention, the NACP, Yadro is a sanctioned company. However, on LinkedIn, Amelkin disputes his employer's involvement. Over on Hacker News, commentators seem to be generally in favor of the move, although the discussion on LWN is more measured, pointing out both that there is little threat from server-management tools like this, but that Microsoft probably has no choice. Amelkin is not alone. Over on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, a contribution from Sergey Semin has been refused with the terse notice: "We don't feel comfortable accepting patches from or relating to hardware produced by your organization. Please withhold networking contributions until further notice." Semin is a developer at chipmaker Baikal Electronics, a company whose website has been suspended for a year now, as we noted a year ago in a story that also mentions Yadro. We were reporting on Baikal's efforts to develop its own CPUs nearly a decade ago, mere months after the Russian annexation of Crimea. And once again, there is spirited debate over the move on the Orange Site. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Intel Graphics Chief Leaves After Five Years

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 18:45:00 Source: slashdot

After five years attempting to make Intel into a competitor for Nvidia and AMD in the realm of discrete graphics for gamers and beyond -- with limited success -- Raja Koduri is leaving Intel to form his own generative AI startup. The Verge reports: Intel hired him away from AMD in 2017, where he was similarly in charge of the entire graphics division, and it was an exciting get at the time! Not only had Intel poached a chief architect who'd just gone on sabbatical but Intel also revealed that it did so because it wanted to build discrete graphics cards for the first time in (what would turn out to be) 20 years. Koduri had previously been poached for similarly exciting projects, too -- Apple hired him away from AMD ahead of an impressive string of graphics improvements, and then AMD brought him back again in 2013. Intel has yet to bring real competition to the discrete graphics card space as of Koduri's departure. [...] But the company has a long GPU roadmap, so it's possible things get better and more competitive in subsequent gens. It took a lot longer than five years for Nvidia and AMD to make it that far. By the time Koduri left, he wasn't just in charge of graphics but also Intel's "accelerated computing" initiatives, including things like a crypto chip. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Hyundai Promises To Keep Buttons In Cars Because Touchscreen Controls Are Dangerous

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 18:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Drive: Sang Yup Lee, Hyundai's head of design, reiterated the company's commitment to buttons at the introduction of the new Hyundai Kona. As reported by CarsGuide, for the Korean automaker, it's a decision rooted in safety concerns. "We have used the physical buttons quite significantly the last few years. For me, the safety-related buttons have to be a hard key," said Lee. It's a design call that makes a lot of sense. In some modern vehicles, adjusting things like the volume or climate control settings can require diving into menus on a touch screen, or using your eyes to find a touch control on the dash. In comparison, the tactile feedback of real buttons, dials, and switches lets drivers keep their eyes on the road instead. "When you're driving, it's hard to control it. This is why when it's a hard key it's easy to sense and feel it," said Lee. As far as he is concerned, physical controls are a necessity for anything that could impact safety. Hence the physical buttons and dials for items like the HVAC system and volume control. Lee hinted that while this is a priority for Hyundai today, things may change in future. In particular, the company will likely look at using touch controls more heavily when autonomous driving becomes mainstream. "When it comes to Level 4 autonomous driving, then we'll have everything soft key," said Lee. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Here’s the full analysis of newly uncovered genetic data on COVID’s origins

Science - Posted On:2023-03-21 18:00:00 Source: arstechnica

A group of independent, international researchers has released its full analysis of newly uncovered metagenomic data collected by the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January and February of 2020. The data closely links SARS-CoV-2 to the genetic tracks of wild animals, particularly raccoon dogs, sold at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group's analysis says.

The full analysis provides additional, compelling evidence that the pandemic coronavirus made its leap to humans through a natural spillover, with a wild animal at the market acting as an intermediate host between the virus' natural reservoir in horseshoe bats and humans. It was authored by 19 scientists, led by Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona; Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in California; and Florence DĂ©barre, a theoretician who specializes in evolutionary biology at France's national research agency, CNRS.

Prior to the release of the full analysis late Monday, information on the findings was only made public through media reports and statements from the World Health Organization, which was briefed on the analysis last week. But, the raw metagenomic data behind the analysis is still not publicly available. It was briefly posted on a public genetic database called the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) as recently as earlier this month, and the international researchers were able to download it during that window of availability. But, administrators for the database quickly removed the data after its discovery, saying the removal was at the request of the submitter, a researcher at China CDC.

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Russia's Space Program Is In Big Trouble

science - Posted On:2023-03-21 17:30:00 Source: slashdot

schwit1 writes: Crippled by war and sanctions, Russia now faces evidence that its already-struggling space program is falling apart. In the past three months alone, Roscosmos has scrambled to resolve two alarming incidents. First, one of its formerly dependable Soyuz spacecraft sprang a coolant leak. Then the same thing happened on one of its Progress cargo ships. The civil space program's Soviet predecessor launched the first person into orbit, but with the International Space Station (ISS) nearing the end of its life, Russia's space agency is staring into the abyss. "What we're seeing is the continuing demise of the Russian civil space program," says Bruce McClintock, a former defense attache at the US embassy in Moscow and current head of the Space Enterprise Initiative of the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. Around 10 years ago, Russian leaders chose to prioritize the country's military space program -- which focuses on satellite and anti-satellite technologies -- over its civilian one, McClintock says, and it shows. Russia's space fleet is largely designed to be expendable. The history of its series of Soyuz rockets and crew capsules (they both have the same name) dates back to the Soviet era, though they've gone through upgrades since. Its Progress cargo vessels also launch atop Soyuz rockets. The cargo ships, crewed ships, and rockets are all single-use spacecraft. Anatoly Zak, creator and publisher of the independent publication RussianSpaceWeb, estimates that Roscosmos launches about two Soyuz vehicles per year, takes about 1.5 to 2 years to build each one, and doesn't keep a substantial standing fleet. While Roscosmos officials did not respond to interview requests, the agency has been public about its recent technical issues.Plus this, which failed to make headlines here: "For crewed launches, Russia has long depended on its Baikonur spaceport in neighboring Kazakhstan. But the nation has charged costly annual fees, and in March Kazakhstan seized Russian spaceport assets, reportedly due to Roscosmos' debt." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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New VLT data reveals more about aftermath of DART vs. asteroid collision

Science - Posted On:2023-03-21 17:00:01 Source: arstechnica

Last September, the Double Asteroid Redirect Test, or DART, smashed a spacecraft into a small binary asteroid called Dimorphos, successfully altering its orbit around a larger companion. We're now learning more about the aftermath of that collision, thanks to two new papers reporting on data collected by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The first, published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, examined the debris from the collision to learn more about the asteroid's composition. The second, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, reported on how the impact changed the asteroid's surface.

As we've reported previously, Dimorphos is less than 200 meters across and cannot be resolved from Earth. Instead, the binary asteroid looks like a single object from here, with most of the light reflecting off the far larger Didymos. What we can see, however, is that the Didymos system sporadically darkens. Most of the time, the two asteroids are arranged so that Earth receives light reflected off both. But Dimorphos' orbit sporadically takes it behind Didymos from Earth's perspective, meaning that we only receive light reflected off one of the two bodies—this causes the darkening. By measuring the darkening's time periods, we can work out how long it takes Dimorphos to orbit and thus how far apart the two asteroids are.

Before DART, Dimorphos' orbit took 11 hours and 55 minutes; post-impact, it's down to 11 hours and 23 minutes. For those averse to math, that's 32 minutes shorter (about 4 percent). NASA estimates that the orbit is now "tens of meters" closer to Didymos. This orbital shift was confirmed by radar imaging. Earlier this month, Nature published five papers that collectively reconstructed the impact and its aftermath to explain how DART's collision had an outsize effect. Those results indicated that impactors like DART could be a viable means of protecting the planet from small asteroids.

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Judge dismisses gamers’ claims that Microsoft/Activision merger will spoil gaming

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2023-03-21 17:00:01 Source: arstechnica

Last December, Call of Duty gamers sued Microsoft, seeking to block its merger with Activision, partly because they alleged that the merger would set up Microsoft to dominate industry rivals, drive up prices, and reduce consumer choice. Yesterday, a California judge, Jacqueline Corley, granted Microsoft’s motion to dismiss the suit, saying that the gamers didn’t “plausibly allege” that the merger “creates a reasonable probability of anticompetitive effects in any relevant market.”

Gamers suing don’t plan to give up this fight that easily, though. They have 20 days to amend their complaint to include more evidence that demonstrates those anticompetitive effects are likely to harm them personally.

The gamers' lawyer, Joseph Alioto, told Ars that he believes they have ample evidence to satisfy the judge in this case. He confirmed that gamers intend to file their amended complaint as soon as possible. Rather than being discouraged by the judge’s dismissal, Alioto told Ars that the gamers were pleased by Corley’s order.

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Hackers drain bitcoin ATMs of $1.5 million by exploiting 0-day bug

Biz & IT - Posted On:2023-03-21 17:00:01 Source: arstechnica

Hackers drained millions of dollars in digital coins from cryptocurrency ATMs by exploiting a zero-day vulnerability, leaving customers on the hook for losses that can’t be reversed, the kiosk manufacturer has revealed.

The heist targeted ATMs sold by General Bytes, a company with multiple locations throughout the world. These BATMs, short for bitcoin ATMs, can be set up in convenience stores and other businesses to allow people to exchange bitcoin for other currencies and vice versa. Customers connect the BATMs to a crypto application server (CAS) that they can manage or, until now, that General Bytes could manage for them. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the BATMs offer an option that allows customers to upload videos from the terminal to the CAS using a mechanism known as the master server interface.

Over the weekend, General Bytes revealed that more than $1.5 million worth of bitcoin had been drained from CASes operated by the company and by customers. To pull off the heist, an unknown threat actor exploited a previously unknown vulnerability that allowed it to use this interface to upload and execute a malicious Java application. The actor then drained various hot wallets of about 56 BTC, worth roughly $1.5 million. General Bytes patched the vulnerability 15 hours after learning of it, but due to the way cryptocurrencies work, the losses were unrecoverable.

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Newegg’s unique NAS configurator is a handy, but limited, shopping tool

Tech - Posted On:2023-03-21 17:00:01 Source: arstechnica

Newegg has a quick and dirty way to pick a new NAS device and the drives that'll go in it. Announced today, the NAS Builder provides a unique, clean interface for perusing the retailer's available NAS enclosures and picking compatible HDDs or SSDs within the selected NAS device's capabilities. You're limited to Newegg's selection, and not all NAS, HDD, or SSD specs and features are disclosed through the shopping tool. But used with its limits in mind, the builder looks like a helpful starting point for NAS newcomers or even advanced users seeking a basic comparison tool.

Anyone who has shopped for tech components, be it for NAS, PC building, or a maker's project, knows how tedious, unorganized, and unreliable relevant commerce sites can be. That's why Newegg's NAS Builder initially piqued my interest.

Opening the website prompts you to pick your total capacity requirements, up to "144TB & Above," and from there, it shows you the relevant NAS devices that Newegg carries. All the expected sorting tools are there, so you can sort by price or for products with the most reviews (on Newegg), for example. Like Newegg's regular site, you can add filters like bay count and RJ-45 specs, but the NAS Builder's appearance is much cleaner with a more stripped-down set of filters than the rest of Newegg, as well as other sites NAS shoppers might frequent. Unlike NAS configurators from NAS vendors, Newegg's is more brand agnostic.

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Microsoft Wins Dismissal of Gamers' Suit Over $69 Billion Activision Deal

yro - Posted On:2023-03-21 16:45:00 Source: slashdot

Microsoft has won dismissal of a private consumer antitrust lawsuit over its $69 billion proposed purchase of "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard, but the plaintiffs were given 20 days to refine their legal challenge. From a report: A federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the lawsuit from a group of video game plaintiffs "lacks allegations" supporting their claim that the proposed acquisition would harm market competition. "Plaintiffs' general allegation that the merger may cause 'higher prices, less innovation, less creativity, less consumer choice, decreased output, and other potential anticompetitive effects' is insufficient," wrote U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corley. "Why? How?" The decision does not affect the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) regulatory challenge to the largest-ever gaming industry deal. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Inside the Art and Science of Crafting the Perfect Movie Title

entertainment - Posted On:2023-03-21 16:15:00 Source: slashdot

Variety has analyzed the often underappreciated process of selecting movie titles in Hollywood. As one of the most crucial aspects of a film's marketing strategy, the title serves as the first point of contact for potential audiences, shaping perceptions and driving intrigue. In a highly competitive industry, a captivating and effective title can be the difference between success and failure at the box office, the article argues. The naming process typically involves collaboration between a diverse range of stakeholders, including studio executives, marketing teams, producers, directors, and screenwriters. The title must not only align with the film's story and themes, but also appeal to target demographics, meet legal requirements, and translate well into foreign languages. As a result, naming a film can be a complex and lengthy endeavor. Some movies adopt their titles from pre-existing source material, such as books or plays, while others rely on brainstorming sessions, market research, and even audience testing. High-profile examples of title changes include "Pretty Woman," originally named "3000," and "Scream," initially titled "Scary Movie." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon layoffs will shut down camera review site after 25 years

Biz & IT - Posted On:2023-03-21 15:30:01 Source: arstechnica

Amazon has plans to lay off at least 27,000 workers this year, including 9,000 that were announced in an internal email yesterday morning. One unexpected casualty: Digital Photography Review, also known as DPReview, is losing its entire editorial staff, and the site will stop publishing on April 10.

The announcement post, written by DPReview General Manager Scott Everett, says that new pieces will continue to be posted through April 10, and "the site will be locked" afterward. It's unclear what will happen to the site's content afterward—the post promises only that the site's articles "will be available in read-only mode for a limited period afterwards." Any photos and text that readers have uploaded to their accounts can be requested and downloaded until April 6, "after which we will not be able to complete the request."

Former site editor Gannon Burgett said on Twitter that the decision to lay off the staff was announced in January and that "Amazon hasn't yet come up with an archival plan" for the site. Cameras, even digital ones, tend to have a pretty long shelf life, and there's an active used market for lenses and camera bodies—if goes offline entirely, that would be a huge blow to anyone trying to research older products.

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Oracle Aims To Sustain Java's 27-Year Franchise With v20 Rollout

developers - Posted On:2023-03-21 15:30:00 Source: slashdot

Oracle today announced the availability of Java 20, the latest version of the popular programming language and development platform. From a report: The latest version of the 27-year-old language includes thousands of performance, stability and security improvements and features seven enhancement proposals to the Java Development Kit that are aimed at increasing developer productivity and enhancing performance, stability and security. Oracle has coordinated a disciplined rollout of new Java releases on a six-month cadence for the past five years and says it's the top contributor to the open-source project. Java is the world's third most widely used programming language, according to Tiobe Software BV, and is No. 1 in organizational development, according to Oracle. "The innovation pipeline has never been richer," said Chad Arimura, vice president of developer relations at Oracle. "The problem space is changing and developers have higher demands on their programming languages than ever." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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With Firefly, Adobe Gets Into the Generative AI Game

slashdot - Posted On:2023-03-21 14:45:00 Source: slashdot

Adobe is jumping into the generative AI game with the launch of a new family of AI models called Firefly. From a report: Focused on bringing AI into Adobe's suite of apps and services, specifically AI for generating media content, Firefly will be made up of multiple AI models "working across a variety of different use cases,' Adobe VP of generative AI Alexandru Costin told TechCrunch in an email interview. It's an expansion of the generative AI tools Adobe introduced in Photoshop, Express and Lightroom during its annual Max conference last year, which let users create and edit objects, composites and effects by simply describing them. As the fervor around the tech grows, Adobe has raced to maintain pace, for example allowing contributors to sell AI-generated artwork in its content marketplace. "Firefly is the next step on our AI journey -- bringing together our new 'gentech' models with decades of investment in imaging, typography, illustration and more to produce assets," Costin said. "We'll bring this value to our customers' workflows where content is created across Creative Cloud, Experience Cloud and Document Cloud." Firefly as it exists today, in beta and without firm pricing (Adobe says that's coming), offers a single model designed to generate images and text effects from descriptions. Developed using hundreds of millions of photos, the model can create content across Adobe apps including Express, Photoshop, Illustrator and Adobe Experience Manager given a text prompt. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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AI-faked images of Donald Trump’s imagined arrest swirl on Twitter

Policy - Posted On:2023-03-21 14:15:00 Source: arstechnica

As the world waits to see if former President Donald Trump will actually be indicted today over hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, AI-generated images began circulating on Twitter imagining what that arrest would look like. Showing Trump resisting arrest and being dragged off by police, the realistic but very fake photos have already been viewed by millions.

“Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump's arrest,” tweeted Eliot Higgins, who is the founder and creative director of Bellingcat, an independent international collective of researchers, investigators, and citizen journalists.

In a tweet, Higgins confirmed that he used the impressively realistic AI engine Midjourney v5 to generate the fake images.

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Google says late Pixel Watch alarms will be fixed “in the coming weeks”

Tech - Posted On:2023-03-21 14:15:00 Source: arstechnica

What good is a watch that can't help you keep track of the time? That's a problem the Pixel Watch has been facing recently, with reports of the watch missing alarm times. Google says it has the problem nailed down, though, and that a fix will be out eventually.

Google doesn't explain what the problem is, but it's most likely related to Android's power-saving "Doze" functionality. The Pixel Watch complaints mostly have to do with alarms for the morning, so the watch was in an idle "bedtime mode" for the night, and the right part of the OS isn't awake to know that it's time to set off an alarm. Doze mode is a constant problem for non-Pixel Android phones, which get aggressive sleep settings from manufacturers and frequently miss push notifications. More aggressive power savings on a watch with a tiny 300 mAh battery makes sense, but Google apparently went too far. Most reports of faulty alarms only say that the alarm was delayed by 1–10 minutes, not missed entirely, but that's still annoying and makes it hard to trust the Pixel Watch for important tasks.

The rollout for the fix is a bit strange. First, this announcement is for Google's March 2023 update for the Pixel Watch, but there's not much of "March" left—usually, these come out in the first week of the month—and Google says the update will take a week or two to hit everyone. That still won't fix your alarms, though. You'll also need an update for the clock app, which Google says will arrive via the Play Store "in the coming weeks." Having to change the OS and the app suggests this wasn't a small bug and that Google needed to create a special carve-out specifically for alarms.

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Google defends auto-deletion of chats after US alleged it destroyed evidence

Policy - Posted On:2023-03-21 14:15:00 Source: arstechnica

Google defended its use of "history-off chats" for many internal communications, denying the US government's allegation that it intentionally destroyed evidence needed in an antitrust case. The history-off setting causes messages to be automatically deleted within 24 hours.

The US government and 21 states last month asked a court to sanction Google for allegedly using the auto-delete function on chats to destroy evidence and accused Google of falsely telling the government that it suspended its auto-deletion practices on chats subject to a legal hold. Google opposed the motion for sanctions on Friday in a filing in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Google said it uses a "tiered approach" for preserving chats. "When there is litigation, Google instructs employees on legal hold not to use messaging apps like Google Chat to discuss the subjects at issue in the litigation and, if they must, to switch their settings to 'history on' for chats regarding the subjects at issue in the litigation, so that any such messages are preserved," the Google filing said.

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Nvidia DGX Cloud: Train Your Own ChatGPT in a Web Browser For $37K a Month

slashdot - Posted On:2023-03-21 14:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, we learned that Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy tens of thousands of Nvidia A100 graphics chips so that partner OpenAI could train the large language models (LLMs) behind Bing's AI chatbot and ChatGPT. Don't have access to all that capital or space for all that hardware for your own LLM project? Nvidia's DGX Cloud is an attempt to sell remote web access to the very same thing. Announced today at the company's 2023 GPU Technology Conference, the service rents virtual versions of its DGX Server boxes, each containing eight Nvidia H100 or A100 GPUs and 640GB of memory. The service includes interconnects that scale up to the neighborhood of 32,000 GPUs, storage, software, and "direct access to Nvidia AI experts who optimize your code," starting at $36,999 a month for the A100 tier. Meanwhile, a physical DGX Server box can cost upwards of $200,000 for the same hardware if you're buying it outright, and that doesn't count the efforts companies like Microsoft say they made to build working data centers around the technology. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon-owned DPReview Shutting Down

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 13:30:00 Source: slashdot

Photography and camera gear review site DPReview, writing in a blog post: After nearly 25 years of operation, DPReview will be closing in the near future. This difficult decision is part of the annual operating plan review that our parent company shared earlier this year. The site will remain active until April 10, and the editorial team is still working on reviews and looking forward to delivering some of our best-ever content. Everyone on our staff was a reader and fan of DPReview before working here, and we're grateful for the communities that formed around the site. Thank you for your support over the years, and we hope you'll join us in the coming weeks as we celebrate this journey. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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OpenAI and Microsoft Are Partners, Until They Vie for the Same Customers

slashdot - Posted On:2023-03-21 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

OpenAI's ChatGPT has enraptured the business world since its November release and OpenAI is signing up customers eager to pay to use its artificial intelligence models in their own products. But the Microsoft-backed startup faces a surprising rival: Microsoft itself. From a report: As part of its multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI, Microsoft has the rights to sell the startup's software through its Azure cloud business, even as OpenAI licenses its own software directly to customers. Microsoft also gets a share of OpenAI's profits. The offerings cost the same, a fraction of a cent per query. Meanwhile, all of OpenAI's technology runs on Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure rent free. The dual offerings mean the companies are at times pitching the same customers on nearly identical products, putting salespeople at Microsoft in the uneasy position of trying to lure customers away from OpenAI while touting its technology. While the profit-sharing agreement means sales of either offering theoretically benefit both companies, OpenAI pursues direct relationships with big customers, such as Microsoft rival Salesforce, which has licensed ChatGPT for a new suite of customer service software. It's not clear whether the partnership between OpenAI and Microsoft dictates the price each company sets for the models. Microsoft gets 75% of OpenAI's profits until its investment is paid back and 49% of subsequent profits up to a certain cap, The Information previously reported. It's also not clear how much profit Microsoft returns to OpenAI for the models it sells through Azure OpenAI Service. [...] An internal Microsoft document, viewed by The Information, instructs Azure salespeople to tell potential customers that OpenAI's own licenses are "great [for] experimentation" but have "limited enterprise-grade capabilities" and fewer "security/privacy features." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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