Micrsoft has introduced their first-ever homegrown artificial intelligence chip ‘Maia 100 chip’ and a companion serving chip, Cobalt. This duo will bring back key technologies in-house.

This was introduced by Microsoft’s chief executive officer Satya Nadella at the tech giant’s annual Ignite conference in Seattle which took place on Wednesday. It is an attempt to take more control of their technology and amplify their offerings in the increasingly cutthroat and competitive market for AI computing.  This new chip will provide Microsoft Azure cloud customers with a new way to develop and ran AI programs to generate content.

Microsoft has also confirmed that it does not plan to sell the chips but will instead use them to power their own in-house workings, namely its subscription software offerings.

This announcement, while outstanding, is not particularly surprising and showcases how critical chips have become to gaining an advantage in AI. This multi-year initiative will prevent Microsoft from becoming overly dependent on any one supplier, a vulnerability that is highlighted by the industry’s frantic scramble for Nvidia’s AI chips. It also allows Microsoft to play catch-up with its rival, Google, which has developed several generations of its Tensor Processing Unit chips, used by Google Cloud for machine learning workloads. By introducing something similar, Microsoft can negotiate for better pricing from chip makers which can be reinvested back into its own infrastructure.

Currently, Microsoft is testing the chip with its Bing and Office AI products. It is set to debut early next year along with Microsoft’s server chip, Cobalt.