Microsoft and Amazon AI Partnership under Investigation in U.K.

British antitrust regulators are opening discussions on partnerships between Microsoft and Amazon with smaller generative artificial intelligence model makers, seeking input from interested parties.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on Wednesday that it was soliciting comments from third parties regarding major AI collaborations between Microsoft and French AI company Mistral, and Amazon and U.S. startup Anthropic, as well as Microsoft’s recruitment of former employees from Inflection AI.

The CMA is seeking input from stakeholders until May 9, aiming to assess whether these partnerships constitute mergers. This invitation for comments initiates the information gathering process preceding the formal Phase 1 review by British regulators.

Microsoft recently invested 15 million euros ($16 million) in Mistral, founded by ex-employees of Meta and Google’s DeepMind AI lab.

Amazon (Credits: Alex Castro/ The Verge)

This collaboration entails making Mistral’s large language models available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, following OpenAI as the second company to host its LLM on Azure.

In contrast, Amazon has injected $4 billion into Anthropic, the developer of the Claude large language model and chatbot. Amazon clarified that it will maintain a minority stake in Anthropic without a board seat.

Microsoft and Amazon both disputed the characterization of these collaborations as mergers. A Microsoft spokesperson emphasized that hiring talent and making fractional investments in AI startups promote competition and differ from mergers.

Similarly, an Amazon spokesperson highlighted the unique nature of its collaboration with Anthropic, emphasizing the absence of a board role and the continued operation of Anthropic’s models on multiple cloud platforms.

Microsoft (Credits: Lucy Nicholson)

Anthropic stressed its independence from Amazon, asserting that the collaboration does not compromise its autonomy or ability to partner with others. The company affirmed its commitment to cooperate with the CMA and provided comprehensive information about its commercial collaboration with Amazon.

The CMA’s scrutiny of Microsoft’s and Amazon’s AI partnerships underscores its increasingly rigorous approach to addressing competition concerns posed by major U.S. technology companies.

This follows the CMA’s recent scrutiny of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which was eventually approved after Microsoft made concessions to address competition concerns.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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