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Microsoft Build 2023: Key announcements across Azure services

by Eamon McCarthy Earls
Assistant Editor,

Microsoft Build 2023 placed AI and copilots in the limelight, but the company also premiered a broad slate of announcements for Azure capabilities. Let’s take a look at a few of the important developments from the event in the areas of AI development, databases, and confidential computing.

AI Studio and Fabric

In his keynote address, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recalled the company’s efforts to support developers around VS Code, GitHub Actions, and Azure dev environments. He explained that ChatGPT capabilities are being added to Bing and Windows, as Microsoft collaborates with OpenAI on ChatGPT Plus. “[We have] fantastic momentum already building. And this is about really creating that opportunity for developers to reach all users across all of these surface areas. And we are so excited to see how you go about exploiting that opportunity in the weeks and months to come,” he told attendees.

According to Nadella one of the most important developments at this year’s Build is Azure AI Studio. Billed as a full lifecycle toolset for building, customizing, and deploying next generation models, it allows developers to ground models in both structured and unstructured data. Data is stored in a standard model so that it can be used for pipelines, experiments, or training machine learning models. He stated:

Of course, when we talk about the AI platform and the copilot stack, the next thing for us, which is really exciting, is AI Studio. This is the full lifecycle toolchain for you to be able to build your intelligent apps and your copilots, everything from being able to train your own models to be able to then ground whether it’s OpenAI or any open source model with data that you bring, built-in vector indexing in Azure Search, built-in support for RAG, or retrieval augmented generation support, built-in support for prompt engineering with Prompt Flow and Orchestration, and of course, built-in support for perhaps the most important feature, which is AI Safety.

Nadella noted that Microsoft is providing customers with the Responsible AI dashboard and AI Safety, which was developed over the last five years. Prompt Flow is part of this push for control, supporting provenance for media, watermarking for neural voice, and grounding for models. Together, many of these capabilities are grouped as AI Content Safety, which will be available starting June 1, priced at $0.75 per one thousand text records.

Together with AI Studio, Microsoft premiered Microsoft Fabric, which brings together Power BI, Data Factory, and the newest generation of Synapse in a unified SaaS offering for analytics. Copilot in Microsoft Fabric is in preview to augment the service’s analytics capabilities. “What the AI supercomputer did for the infrastructure layer, Microsoft Fabric will do to the data layer for this next generation of AI applications,” Nadella said.

Because Microsoft paid so much attention to its headline AI offerings, attendees could easily miss some of the less high-profile but no less important AI announcements. Cognitive Search is in preview, as a retrieval system for large language models, equipped with pure vector search and hybrid retrieval. A variant of Cognitive Search—Cognitive Service for Language—provides conversational language understanding powered by OpenAI Service, with integration into Power Virtual Agents. Language Studio Document Translation is generally available. The closely related Power Automate Translator remains in preview, poised to translate up to 125 languages, with multi-cloud workflows and a plugin to OpenAI Service.

Putting AI into practice with Azure Machine Learning

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About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor at, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Before joining, Eamon was editor for at TechTarget, where he covered networking technology, IoT, and cybersecurity. He is also the author of multiple books and previously contributed to publications such as the Boston Globe, Milford Daily News, and DefenceWeb.