UK monitors Microsoft and Amazon's AI partnerships

Microsoft + Mistral AI
Translate from : UK overvåger Microsoft og Amazons AI-partnerskaber
CMA invites interested parties to comment on recent AI agreements between Microsoft and Amazon. Concerns about the impact on competition in the UK. Deadline 9 May 2024.

The UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), is seeking views from stakeholders ahead of an investigation into recent artificial intelligence (AI) deals struck by Microsoft and Amazon. In recent years, Big Tech companies have invested heavily in generative AI startups. Such partnerships and agreements in the AI market have become a concern of the CMA.

The regulator has now invited "interested third parties" to comment on whether the recent partnerships and agreements involving Microsoft and Amazon fall within UK merger rules and what impact these agreements may have on competition in the UK.

This includes Microsoft's partnership with French startup Mistral AI, founded in April 2023 by former employees of Meta Platforms and Google DeepMind. In addition, Microsoft has hired a significant amount of former employees from the Californian startup Inflection AI.

The CMA's concerns with Amazon lie in its $4 billion investment in Anthropic, a startup founded by former members of ChatGPT creator OpenAI. The deadline for third-party comments is 9 May 2024. The CMA will then use these comments to assess whether to conduct in-depth antitrust investigations.

"We will objectively and impartially assess whether each of these deals complies with UK merger rules and, if they do, whether they have any impact on competition in the UK," said Joel Bamford, director of mergers at the CMA. He added: "The CMA has recently committed to increasing the use of its merger control powers as part of its recent AI Foundation Models update. While we remain open and have not drawn any conclusions, our aim is to understand the complex partnerships and deals that are in play.”

The CMA is already investigating Microsoft's $13 billion investment in ChatGPT developer OpenAI. It's not just in the UK - regulators around the world are also investigating partnerships and deals in AI markets. For example, the European Commission is assessing competition in "virtual worlds" and generative AI and has requested information from several major digital players to "examine the market dynamics" of partnerships in this space.

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is leading an ongoing investigation into generative AI investments by technology companies to assess whether these "investments and partnerships, pursued by dominant firms, risk distorting innovation and undermining fair competition".

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