AMAZON launches machine learning chip, taking on Nvidia and Intel:

Amazon-com on Wednesday launched a microchip aimed at so-called machine-learning, entering a market that both  Intel Corp and Nvidia Corp are counting on to boost their earnings in the coming years.

Amazon is one of the largest buyer of chips from Intel and Nvidia, whose semiconductors help power Amazon's booming cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services. But Amazon has started to design its own chips.

Amazon's so-called ''Inferentia'' chip announced on Wednesday will help with what researchers call inference, which is the process of taking an  artificial intelligence algorithm and putting it to use, for example by scanning incoming audio and translating that into text-based requests.

The Amazon chip is not a direct threat to Intel and Nvidia's business because it will not be selling the chips. Amazon will sell services to its cloud customers  that run atop the chips starting next year. If Amazon relies on its own chips, it could deprive both Nvidia and Intel of a major customer.

Intel's processors currently dominate the market for machine learning inference, which analysts at  Morningstar believe will be worth $11.8 billion by 2021. In September, Nvidia launched its own inference chip to compete with Intel.

In addition to its machine learning chip, Amazon on Monday announced a processor chip for its cloud unit called Graviton.

That chip is powered by technology from Softbank Group Corp-controlled Arm Holdings, Arm-based chips currently power mobile phones, but multiple companies are trying to make them suitable for  data centers.

The use of Arm chips to data centers potentially represents a major challenge to Intel's dominance in that market.

Amazon is not alone among   cloud computing vendors in designing its own chips. Alphabet Inc-owned Google's cloud unit in 2016 unveiled an  artificial intelligence  chip   designed take on chips from Nvidia- [Reuters].


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