British regulator to probe Microsoft OpenAI venture

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

British antitrust body announced on Friday that it will consider whether to open a merger investigation into Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar joint venture with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.

This action follows Microsoft’s statement in November that it will become a non-voting member of the board and commit over $10 billion to OpenAI. That came after a turbulent boardroom conflict in which Sam Altman, the founder and CEO of OpenAI, was abruptly removed and later reappointed.

“There have recently been a number of developments in the governance of OpenAI, some of which involved Microsoft,” the Competition and Markets Authority said on Friday.

As a result, the CMA stated that its investigation will look at whether the OpenAI partnership has led to a merger situation and whether it might harm UK competition.

According to Reuters, Microsoft owns 49% of the for-profit operating firm, while OpenAI’s non-profit parent owns 2%.

Antitrust officials from the European Union stated that they have been monitoring “very closely the situation of control” at OpenAI, taking into account the company’s recent changes in management and Microsoft’s investment and board membership.

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