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DOJ Investigates AI Competition, Eyes Microsoft’s OpenAI Deal: Bloomberg

 |  January 31, 2024

The US Justice Department has launched numerous investigations into the competition within the field of artificial intelligence (AI), as disclosed by Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter, reported Bloomberg.

Speaking at a conference in Brussels, Kanter highlighted the active efforts of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division in examining the relationship between AI and competition. While specific companies under investigation were not disclosed, it is evident that the inquiries are comprehensive.

According to Bloomberg, the ongoing scrutiny includes a jurisdictional dispute between the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding a potential antitrust probe into Microsoft Corp.’s significant investment in OpenAI, a key player in the development of ChatGPT. Microsoft’s investment, surpassing $13 billion, has already triggered antitrust reviews in both the UK and the European Union.

Read more: DOJ Claims Google Monopoly Delayed Innovation: Bloomberg

In a recent development, the FTC has initiated its own inquiry into Microsoft’s OpenAI partnership. The investigation also encompasses examinations into Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s investments in Anthropic. This inquiry, conducted through a 6(b) study, empowers the FTC to issue subpoenas for market studies, with the agency traditionally releasing a comprehensive report on its findings—a process known to extend over multiple years.

Crucially, the FTC’s study does not preclude a separate investigation by the Justice Department into Microsoft’s investment. Historically, the Justice Department has taken a leading role in addressing antitrust matters related to Microsoft, dating back to the landmark case in the late 1990s. This, despite the recent FTC review of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc., where the FTC’s attempt to block the deal was unsuccessful, and they are presently appealing the outcome.

Source: News Bloomberg Law