The FTC is reportedly looking at Microsoft’s $13 billion investment into OpenAI to see if it violates US antitrust laws. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is also investigating the company.
The CMA is reportedly investigating whether it should launch a probe to determine if Microsoft’s investment in the company would negatively impact UK competition, Reuters reports. Neither investigation is officially underway, and instead, both groups have suggested they are making preliminary inquiries to decide whether a formal investigation should take place.
Both groups’ concerns stem from the recent battle between OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and the company’s board, which resulted in Altman being forcibly removed from the company, hired at Microsoft, and then rehired as CEO of OpenAI over a few days. As part of a new board, Microsoft was given a non-voting observer spot on OpenAI’s board.
Despite technically having no power at the company, Microsoft appeared to be in control of Altman’s return, or at least played a role in the negotiations.
In a news release, the CMA said: “The CMA will review whether the partnership has resulted in an acquisition of control — that is, where it results in one party having material influence, de facto control or more than 50% of the voting rights over another entity.”
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Microsoft also recently had to deal with the CMA and FTC over its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The CMA initially blocked the deal but ultimately allowed it to go forward after Microsoft amended its plans for the acquisition.
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