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EU Examines Microsoft Investment In OpenAI

The move is part of efforts by Brussels to make sure its oversight can catch up with the fast-moving world of artificial intelligence and stop major players shutting out competitors.


(FILES) A photo taken on October 4, 2023 in Manta, near Turin, shows a smartphone displaying the logo of the artificial intelligence OpenAI research laboratory. – Hundreds of staff at ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI have signed a letter threatening to leave the tech firm unless “all current board members resign,” according to US media reports on November 20, 2023. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)

 

The European Union’s competition regulator said Tuesday it was looking into Microsoft’s investment into ChatGPT developer OpenAI to see if it merits further investigation under the bloc’s merger rules.

The European Commission said it was “checking whether Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI might be reviewable under the EU Merger Regulation”.

The move is part of efforts by Brussels to make sure its oversight can catch up with the fast-moving world of artificial intelligence and stop major players from shutting out competitors.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, who will meet top tech bosses California this week, said “it is fundamental that these new markets stay competitive”.

“We are inviting businesses and experts to tell us about any competition issues that they may perceive in these industries, whilst also closely monitoring AI partnerships to ensure they do not unduly distort market dynamics,” she said.

Alongside meetings with Apple boss Tim Cook and Google chief Sundar Pichai, Vestager is also set to hold talks with two top executives from OpenAI.

The launch of the ChatGPT chatbot in November 2023 — which became at the time the fastest-adopted app — marked the popular arrival of the AI revolution.

Microsoft last year pledged to invest $13 billion in OpenAI and got a seat on the board after an abortive boardroom coup against CEO Sam Altman.

Britain’s competition watchdog last month also said it was looking into whether the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI resembles a merger.