Microsoft’s $13 billion (€11.9 billion) investment in OpenAI may go against European merger rules. Regulators are considering investigating the significant investment.
The European Commission announced the potential probe. The possible investigation is part of the information the EU body wants to gather on the “virtual worlds” and “generative artificial intelligence” markets. The Commission wants to know how competitive these markets are. “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,” explained Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Companies have until March 11 to provide input.
In announcing the potential additional investigation, the EU body says it will carefully review all input. “Following that review, the Commission may organise a workshop in the second quarter of 2024 to bring together all different perspectives emerging from the contributions and continue this reflection,” the statement reads.
The Commission looks at several agreements between major digital market players and generative AI developers. “The European Commission is investigating the impact of these partnerships on market dynamics,” it states. Which partnerships are being referred to is unclear.
Only Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI is mentioned in particular. The EU wants to know whether the investment requires robust scrutiny in line with the EU Merger Regulation. There is no comment from Microsoft on the news yet, but the tech company has already stated once that it owns no part of OpenAI.