This Week in AI: Incumbents vs Startups (Microsoft Build & Adobe Firefly)

Note: those are quick thoughts on some of last week’s most interesting news in AI. I may, or may not (!) do this on a regular basis.

This last week in AI: Adobe killed all the Generative AI design startups with Firefly, and then Microsoft killed all the other Generative AI startups with its plugins and Fabric releases.

I’m sort of kidding, but sort of not. Kidding because, again and again, founders and startups find a way. But sort of not, because the speed of deployment of AI by the Big Tech incumbents is truly something to behold. Companies like Adobe and Microsoft have, of course, massive distribution advantages. It is undeniably problematic for startups to see Adobe deploying Firefly in Photoshop and Microsoft deploying AI copilots across, well just about every single of its products for consumers, businesses and developers (see the dizzying list of announcements at Microsoft’s Build conference this week).

I don’t think, however, that the world wants a Microsoft and Google dominated AI world. The best version of the future for the Generative AI landscape is to be “polyglot” with a variety of tools and companies. Open source is going to be play a huge role and it’s comforting to see so much energy there. And I have faith startups will build the best specialized tools and vertical solutions. It’s going to be a fun ride ahead.

Here’s a good piece from Sharon Goldman at VentureBeat on some of the Microsoft Build AI announcements that triggered those thoughts above

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