Athena is being designed as a cost-effective replacement for Nvidia AI chipsets. The advantage being that Athena is a benign goddess of wisdom, war and cute owls and Nvidia is named after a Roman revenge daemon.
Vole is keen to get the project started as its ChatGPT-powered Bing chatbot workloads are incredibly expensive using third-party chips. Microsoft plans to expand its use of AI dramatically this year, it needs a cheaper alternative.
Microsoft Silicon business, led by former Intel executive Rani Borkar, is growing and now has almost 1,000 employees, several hundred of which are working on Athena.
The software giant has invested about $2 billion on this effort so far which is additional to the $11 billion it's invested in ChatGPT maker OpenAI.
Bloomberg also says that Microsoft intends to keep partnering with Nvidia too, and that it will continue buying Nvidia chipsets as needed.