Altman drama prompts EU to investigate Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI


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  • Added additional statements from Margrethe Vestager

Update from January 13, 2024:

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told Bloomberg TV that the nature of the relationship between OpenAI and Microsoft, and its potential impact on corporate control, is of particular interest to the EU.

The investigation follows the ouster and subsequent reinstatement of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella played a central role in this, highlighting the close relationship between the two companies.

Vestager explicitly mentions this incident as the reason for the investigation, which is “very preliminary”. It’s also part of a larger initiative to understand how AI could impact markets, which Vestager says have already been heavily shaped by the technology over the past two decades.

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“When we put in AI to that game, of course, we see that this may accelerate some of the behaviors that we have seen and some of the things we have been concerned about,” Vestager said.

Original article from January 9, 2024:

The European Commission is investigating whether Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI falls under the EU merger control regulation.

This preliminary review follows similar investigations by U.S. and U.K. antitrust authorities into Microsoft’s investment of up to $13 billion in OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. Microsoft reportedly owns 49 percent of OpenAI.

The Commission is also investigating agreements between major players in the digital market and developers and providers of generative AI, and the impact of these partnerships on market dynamics. Interested parties have until March 11, 2024 to submit comments and complaints.

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