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EU Antitrust Chief Margrethe Vestager Says AI Needs ‘Vibrant Competition’

European Union, EU

In a meeting that underscores the European Unions ongoing scrutiny of the tech industry, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, held discussions with representatives from the French artificial intelligence (AI) firm Mistral AI on Friday (April 26).

The meeting took place against a backdrop of growing concerns regarding competition in the tech sector, with Vestager expressing concern about Big Tech companies’ investments in AI startups, Reuters reported Friday.

Microsoft has invested in both Mistral AI and OpenAI, while Amazon and Google have invested in Anthropic, according to the report.

After meeting with Mistral AI Friday, Vestager wrote in a post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter): “If we act early on, we can avoid that the #AI market gets dominated by a few large players, like we saw happening with #digital #platforms. We need vibrant #competition in AI, now.”

This report comes two days after British antitrust authorities said they were soliciting opinions on the implications of partnerships between Microsoft and Amazon and smaller generative AI model developers.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is asking for input from stakeholders by May 9 to determine whether the business dealings in question should be classified as mergers.

Joel Bamford, executive director of mergers at the CMA, said in a news release that “open, fair and effective competition in Foundation Model markets is critical to making sure the full benefits of this transformation are realised by people and businesses in the U.K., as well as our wider economy where technology has a huge role to play in growth and productivity.”

It was reported April 16 that Mistral AI is exploring a funding round that would value it at $5 billion. The startup has been in talks with investors about raising several hundred million dollars. 

The firm was reportedly valued at $2 billion in a funding round that raised $415 million in December.

In February, a day after Microsoft announced that it planned to make the commercial version of Mistral’s AI model available via Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, the European Commission said it would examine the Microsoft-Mistral deal as part of its ongoing investigation into partnerships between Big Tech and AI companies.