Microsoft announced its largest-ever investment in Australia, pledging $3.2 billion (A$5 billion) over two years to expand its cloud computing capabilities and artificial intelligence infrastructure in the country.
The tech giant plans to increase its data center presence from 20 to 29 sites across Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne. This 45% growth in computing capacity will help Microsoft keep pace with Australia's rapidly growing demand for cloud services, which is projected to double between 2022 and 2026 as more businesses adopt AI tools.
Microsoft President Brad Smith expressed the company's continued dedication to Australia, especially in the rapidly growing AI space. He remarked, "This is our largest investment in Microsoft’s 40-year history in Australia and a testament to our commitment to the country’s growth and prosperity in the AI era."
The announcement came during Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s official visit to the United States this week. Albanese praised the investment, calling it a “major boost in the skills and workers of the future” for Australia. His government has set a goal of creating 1.2 million tech sector jobs in the country by 2030.
Microsoft said the spending underscores its long-term commitment to Australia’s “growth and prosperity in the AI era.” In addition to added data center capacity, the funds will support cybersecurity partnerships, digital skills training for 300,000 Australians, and the launch of a datacenter academy to develop technical talent.
The cybersecurity initiatives will involve collaboration with Australia’s national Signals Directorate intelligence agency to share threat information and jointly develop new cyber defense tools. There is a particular focus on protecting against sophisticated attacks from state-sponsored entities.
Microsoft’s ramped up presence provides a foundation for Australia to compete globally in next-generation technologies like AI and quantum computing. It also positions Microsoft to capture a larger share of Australia’s cloud market, currently dominated by Amazon Web Services.