Microsoft is planning to spend €4 billion ($4.31bn) on data center infrastructure in France and will buy renewable energy via power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the country for the first time.

A new data center will be built near the city of Mulhouse in the Grand Est region of eastern France, while the company’s existing sites in Paris and Marseille will be expanded.

Zayo Group has acquired Paris-based Neo Networks
Microsoft is investing in France. The company already has a data center in the Paris region.

The company made the announcement on Monday at the Choose France investment summit, being hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Versailles this week.

“This major investment demonstrates a steadfast commitment to supporting digital innovation and economic growth in France,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith. “We are building state-of-the-art cloud and AI infrastructure, training people with AI skills, and supporting French startups as they use our technology with confidence to grow in a fair and responsible way.”

Microsoft opened its existing French data centers in 2017. The new facility, plus the upgrade work, will mean Microsoft has 25,000 GPUs for AI workloads available in France by the end of 2025, the company said. It did not elaborate on what sort of hardware it would be purchasing.

It was reported in March that Microsoft was considering a former car plant in Rennes, western France, for a data center project, though this plan was thought to be in its early stages and was not mentioned in today's announcement.

Microsoft added that it has agreed its first PPA in France, but did not go into detail about what sort of renewable energy it has procured. "We have executed our first PPA this month [May] and we expect to have approximately 100 MW of new renewable energy projects online in France by the end of 2024," the company said.

DCD reported exclusively last week that Microsoft is looking to expand its presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and is hiring someone to seek out undeveloped sites for data centers.

Meanwhile, President Macron’s office said on Sunday that Amazon is also planning invest in France, committing €1.2 billion ($1.29bn) and pledging to create 3,000 jobs.

The money will go towards developing the company’s AWS cloud offering in France, mainly around generative AI, as well as logistical systems for its delivery service. It is not clear if this will involve any new or updated data center infrastructure.