OpenAI, the company behind the popular chatbot ChatGPT, plans to launch a marketplace where companies can buy and sell AI models tailored to their specific needs.
The goal of this ‘App Store‘ is to make chatbots more versatile and applicable to a wider range of industries. Companies could use the customized AI for a variety of purposes, such as providing quick answers to industry-specific questions using current data.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman revealed potential plans for an AI marketplace during a meeting with developers in London last month, a report from The Information said, citing people with knowledge of the development.
OpenAI competes with partners
Businesses have leveraged ChatGPT to create products suited to their own needs, such as to identify fraud or improve efficiency and service delivery by automating tasks. Altman hopes businesses will buy and sell custom AI chatbots on OpenAI’s ‘App store.’
The company’s planned marketplace may not be popular with everyone. The store could pose a competitive threat to its current partners, Salesforce and Microsoft, both of which operate their own marketplaces for selling AI chatbots built on OpenAI’s technology.
Microsoft invested more than $13 billion into OpenAI, and has since integrated the latest and most advanced version of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, cloud services, and its web browser, Edge. This has helped OpenAI technology to reach a wider customer base.
Observers say the new marketplace would allow OpenAI to expand its customer base even further, giving it an edge over rivals like Cohere, Bard and Claude. The store also means the firm will be able to generate more money from direct sales.
“With more players entering the space, finding the right AI solution is becoming increasingly more difficult. OpenAI’s app store will help,” said AI analyst Rowan Cheung.
iOS developer Mahir Panchal believes OpenAI’s planned marketplace “is an excellent idea.”
“It will promote trust and ensure quality. Similar to what the AppStore has achieved. Just hope it doesn’t come at too steep a penalty in terms of OpenAI cut to be shared by the app,” Panchal wrote on Twitter.
But I think this is an excellent idea. It will promote trust and ensure quality. Similar to what the AppStore has achieved. Just hope it doesn’t come at too steep a penalty in terms of OpenAI cut to be shared by the app.
— Mihir Panchal (@MihirPanchaal) June 20, 2023
Early interest in chatbot store
OpenAI’s proposed App Store is said to have already attracted the attention of two companies, Aquant and Khan Academy.
Aquant, a software company that provides device repair guidance, modified ChatGPT with data from customer support tickets and employee feedback. The company currently offers its customized AI bot on the Salesforce AppExchange and ServiceNow Store.
Aquant would be amenable to listing the chatbot on OpenAI’s marketplace to reach more clients. Khan Academy used ChatGPT to develop Khanmigo, its own AI-powered tutor for teachers and students. It wants to distribute the bot widely, possibly via OpenAI’s store.
In May, OpenAI launched around 70 third-party plugins for ChatGPT, which many considered as the app store of AI. The plugins allowed users to interact with websites such as Expedia and Shopify. Opinion is divided on whether the plugins are a success story.