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Amazon’s Investment in Anthropic Faces Antitrust Scrutiny

 |  April 24, 2024

Amazon’s significant investment in Anthropic, a U.S.-based AI startup, has come under the antitrust regulatory microscope. The U.K.’s Competition Market Authority (CMA) has announced an inquiry into the partnership, raising questions about potential adverse effects on competition within the U.K. market.

Amazon’s infusion of $4 billion into Anthropic, announced in September 2023 alongside a strategic collaboration agreement, marked a substantial commitment to leveraging AI capabilities. The latest round of funding, finalized on March 27, 2024, solidified Amazon Web Services (AWS) as Anthropic’s primary cloud provider, deepening the ties between the two entities.

Expressing its concerns, the CMA stated that the partnership between Amazon and Anthropic may have triggered a “relevant merger situation” under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002. This scrutiny represents a significant development, as it marks an unprecedented investigation into a collaboration of this nature, according to an Amazon spokesperson.

Responding to the CMA’s inquiries, Amazon clarified that its collaboration with Anthropic involved a limited investment and did not grant Amazon a board director or observer role. Furthermore, Anthropic maintains the autonomy to run its models on multiple cloud providers, ensuring a degree of independence within the partnership.

Read more: Amazon Offers Changes to Address Competition Concerns in UK

The CMA’s scrutiny of Amazon’s collaboration with Anthropic comes amidst broader regulatory attention on big tech investments in AI startups. While the European Commission recently dropped a merger probe into Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI, it continues to examine potential competition concerns. The Commission’s stance on the Amazon-Anthropic partnership remains unclear at the time of publication.

In its efforts to understand the implications of such partnerships, the CMA has invited interested parties to comment on similar arrangements until May 9. This includes Microsoft’s partnership with Mistral AI and its hiring of former employees with ties to Inflection AI. However, the CMA emphasized that the invitation for comments does not signify the initiation of an official investigation.

Source: Euractiv