Microsoft talked up new tools on Tuesday aimed at encouraging programmers to build AI-focused technology into Windows software as it races against Alphabet, Amazon.com and Apple to dominate the emerging field.

At a developer conference in Seattle, Chief Executive Satya Nadella promoted new application programming interfaces, or APIs, that make it easier for developers to tap in to AI technology offered by Microsoft.

The company said 1.8 million developers are now using Github Copilot, Microsoft's generative AI tool that helps computer programmers be more productive.

"What stands out to me as I look back at this past year, is how you all as developers have taken all of these capabilities and are applying them, quite frankly, to change the world around us," Nadella said during his keynote address at the Build conference.

Microsoft detailed new features for its Copilot AI software that helps business productivity applications such as email and its Teams video and text chat product. At its developer conference last week, Alphabet's Google unveiled a similar batch of AI tools to help people with office applications.

Microsoft announced details of its new developer tools last week.

Shares of Microsoft were up 1.2 per cent at $430.67 on Tuesday afternoon after hitting a record high of $432.97 earlier in the session. Microsoft's stock has now gained 14 per cent in 2024.

Also aimed at developers, Microsoft said last Thursday it would offer its cloud computing customers a platform of AMD AI chips that will compete with Nvidia, whose graphics processing units have become the gold standard for AI computing.

The platform of AMD chips created by Microsoft uses networking technology made by Nvidia called Infiniband to string the processors together.

OpenAI's new GPT4-o model, which runs on Microsoft's infrastructure, is 12 times cheaper for developers to use in their software than earlier versions of the technology, Microsoft's chief technology officer Kevin Scott said.

Microsoft is the largest investor in OpenAI and uses some of the AI heavyweight's technology in its own products.

On Monday, Microsoft debuted a line of Copilot+ personal computers with AI features such as software that lets users search through their past actions in nearly any software. The new computers feature Arm-based processors made by Qualcomm.

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