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EU Scrutinizes Microsoft, Google, and Samsung AI Deals

 |  June 30, 2024

The European Union’s antitrust regulators are set to examine the exclusivity clauses in Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI, a move that could spark a formal investigation. Simultaneously, Google’s artificial intelligence deal with Samsung has also come under regulatory scrutiny.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager announced on Friday that additional third-party perspectives would be sought as part of the investigation. “We have reviewed the replies and are now sending a follow-up request for information on the agreement between Microsoft and OpenAI. To understand whether certain exclusivity clauses could have a negative effect on competitors,” Vestager stated at a conference.

The heightened regulatory attention underscores global concerns about Big Tech leveraging its market dominance into emerging technologies, reminiscent of their influence in other sectors.

Earlier in March, Vestager had sent questionnaires to several major tech companies, including Microsoft, Google, Meta’s (META.O) Facebook, and ByteDance’s TikTok, to gather information about their AI partnerships.

According to a Reuters report, the European Commission’s preliminary findings could pave the way for an investigation into the Microsoft-OpenAI collaboration. A Microsoft spokesperson responded, saying, “We stand ready to respond to any additional questions the European Commission may have.”

While Vestager clarified that Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI would not fall under the EU’s merger rules due to the lack of control, she highlighted the significant investment Microsoft has made. The tech giant has poured $13 billion into OpenAI’s for-profit subsidiary, securing a 49% stake.

This development marks a crucial moment for antitrust enforcement in the tech sector, as regulators strive to prevent established companies from stifling competition in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence.

Source: Reuters