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Oracle will collaborate with AI startup and OpenAI rival Cohere to develop generative AI services for organizations.
Oracle on Tuesday said it will provide generative AI services built on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to help organizations automate business processes and improve decision-making and customer experiences.
Cohere will train, deploy and build generative AI models on OCI. The AI startup's language model will be integrated into Oracle's business applications, including Oracle Fusion Cloud, Oracle NetSuite and Oracle industry-specific applications. It's unclear when the integrations will be generally available.
Oracle's partnership with Cohere comes nearly a week after Cohere revealed a $270 million funding round in which Oracle was a funding participant.
It also comes as giant technology vendors Microsoft and Google face off to gain an advantage in the rapidly growing and lucrative generative AI market.
Microsoft and Google have integrated many generative AI services into business applications. With Microsoft's close partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI (in which it has invested more than $10 billion), Oracle has no option but to partner with someone else, said David Menninger, an analyst at research and advisory firm Ventana Research.
"They had to find somebody, and Cohere is a reasonable alternative," Menninger said.
Moreover, Cohere is one of the few providers of foundation models -- machine learning models trained on massive amounts of data -- in the generative AI market.
"It's a specialist job, what they do," said Nick Patience, co-founder and analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, during a previous interview with TechTarget Editorial about Cohere's funding. "They understand the value of foundation models, and there's not many companies around that can do this."
David MenningerAnalyst, Ventana Research
While Cohere brings to the alliance an understanding of foundation models, Oracle provides the smaller company with access to its vast customer base and significant share of the database market, Menninger said.
"In these types of situations, it's generally build versus buy," Menninger continued. "One of the most important elements today is getting to market quickly. By finding a vendor that has these capabilities, they're able to get to market."
The partnership also further spurs competition in the generative AI market, he added. Instead of trying to align itself with OpenAI, creator of the popular generative AI technologies GPT-4 and ChatGPT, Oracle can diversify the market with a different LLM provider.
"This is less about differentiation. It's more about aligning resources to have a common enemy," Menninger said.
The alliance between Oracle and Cohere will still have to deal with the same challenges other vendors in the generative AI arena face.
"We are still in the very early stages of generative AI," Menninger said. There's still a lot to learn about governance, security and privacy, he added.
However, security and privacy are Oracle's strengths, he said.
"Oracle had always been focused on delivering enterprise grade capabilities," Menninger continued.
According to Oracle, OCI's generative AI capabilities will give customers control over their data. The vendor claims it will not mix customers' data with its own data.
Esther Ajao is a news writer covering artificial intelligence software and systems.