The investment will take place over the next two years, with the company aiming to expand its cloud computing capabilities and drive the development of digital skills in the country

This week, Microsoft and the Australian government have announced that the company will invest AU$5 billion ($3.2 billion) in expanding their cloud computing presence in the country.

The investment will see the company grow its domestic computing power by 250%, increasing the number of data centres it owns in Australia from 20 to 29 in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney.

The project also includes the establishment of a Microsoft Datacentre Academy in Australia and an expansion of the company’s national digital skills programme, aiming to support the growth 300,000 Australians in digital skills.

In their press release, the company explained the motivation behind this investment as the expected boom in demand for cloud computing sparked by the widespread adoption of AI over the coming decade. Research the company commissioned showed that this market is expected to double from AU$12.2 billion ($7.7 billion) in 2022 to AU$22.4 billion ($15.4 billion) in 2026.

Finally, the Microsoft says it will expand the company’s partnership with the Australian cybersecurity agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), aiming to collaborate on developing new solutions to defend against cyberthreats on a national level.

The ASD are currently in the process of devising a new national cybersecurity strategy to cover the period until 2030, which is expected to be published next month.

“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,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “We’re coupling this AU$5 billion in computing capacity and capabilities with AI and engineering that will strengthen the nation’s cyber defence, including a deeper collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate.”

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