Microsoft’s Much-Debated Partnership With OpenAI Comes Under Anti-Trust Scrutiny

Software giant Microsoft’s partnership with top-of-the-line ChatGPT maker OpenAI has again come under scrutiny in regards to anti-trust behavior.

The news was confirmed through a media report by a leading British regulator after a major boardroom battle shocked the world when OpenAI opted to fire its own CEO and leading name from the tech world, Sam Altman.

This was certainly a lot of drama that had the world watching what exactly would be the outcome and where Altman would end up. But seeing Microsoft attain a non-voting position at the leading firm by a three-member board was truly eye-opening.

A representative from the company may be present in OpenAI’s meetings but they will not be allowed to vote on such topics and they would also be allowed to get access to the firm’s data that’s dubbed confidential. Seeing it not get the chance to determine or have a say on who should be elected as directors at top meetings was such an interesting clause.

For now, there is no news or updates in terms of who will stand for Microsoft in this position and what the final board at OpenAI would look like but regulators are not turning a blind eye on the matter.

Remember, OpenAI is run by a firm that is non-profit in origin. Therefore, seeing such names pop up in terms of being scrutinized by anti-trust bodies is beyond rare. To get more details, it was in 2019 when OpenAI chose to launch a non-profit subsidiary. And Microsoft has a 49% share in that.

When asked to comment on the matter and add more details, Microsoft failed to do just that and its rep added how such matters cannot be talked about in detail as they’re confidential.

But it did go as far as to mention how it didn’t own portions at OpenAI and that it would have an equal right to the company’s profit share.

Seeing Microsoft roll out a staggering investment comprising $10 billion is huge and it means taking the lead into the giant AI race where big names like Google’s parent firm Alphabet continue to dominate.

There has been a huge figure for developments in terms of how OpenAI keeps getting governed. And a lot of those involved Microsoft as announced on Friday by the CMA.

They’re currently in the process of reviewing if it’s appropriate to roll out an investigation into the investments of Microsoft in OpenAI in terms of whether or not it might be impacting the competition seen in the UK market negatively.

The FTC is similarly also carrying out its own investigations on this front and how such investments may end up violating rules linked to antitrust behavior, Bloomberg News added.

For now, the inquiries on this subject are just initial, and no formal investigation has rolled out in this regard. Moreover, the FTC fails to comment on this matter.

As far as Microsoft is concerned, the firm’s President outlined through a recent statement how the only change that arose so far is linked to how his enterprise won’t be allowed to vote but would still be allowed as an observer on the board at OpenAI.

This is remarkably different from how acquisitions took place in other companies like Google buying DeepMind in Britain.

Clearly, the news means we could soon be seeing similarly themed probes arising after the figure for AI gets concentrated across the region. We must see antitrust regulators move at a quicker pace and investigate the matter by which such deals are arising. And only then can competition be rightly preserved, the director for EU’s Open Markets Institute added today.

Read next: EU’s Landmark AI Act Reaches A Provisional Agreement After Being Hailed As A Global Benchmark For AI Governance
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