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Harry Shum, EVP for Microsoft AI & Research. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Artificial intelligence has become a primary area of focus at Microsoft, and that will be reflected in the next major update to Windows 10.

At its Windows Developer Day event today, Microsoft said it will begin sharing the AI and machine learnings advances it has achieved in recent years as part of the Windows 10 platform to help third party-developers building new apps Windows apps. Microsoft also announced a new API called Windows ML that comes with pre-trained machine learning models.

The company said AI and machine learning can help developers reduce costs of their projects, while beefing up processing capabilities and creating flexibility in performing tasks on a physical device or in the cloud. With the latest changes, developers can use the AI platform across all Windows device types, which includes everything from the HoloLens headset, to desktop PCs and Surface devices and more.

Microsoft’s AI emphasis really took off in 2016 when it made it the focus of the fourth engineering division at the company, alongside the Office, Windows and Cloud & Enterprise. In the first year, that group grew by 60 percent — from 5,000 people originally to nearly 8,000 people — through hiring and acquisitions, and by bringing aboard additional teams from other parts of the company.

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