UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a preliminary probe into partnerships between tech giants over artificial intelligence (AI), like Microsoft and Mistral AI, and Amazon and Anthropic.

The anti-trust regulator has asked interested third parties to give their views on whether these AI partnerships (including Microsoft’s hiring of former employees and related arrangements with Inflection AI) fall within UK merger rules and the impact that these arrangements could have on competition in the country.

“We will assess, objectively and impartially, whether each of these 3 deals fall within UK merger rules and, if they do, whether they have any impact on competition in the UK,” said Joel Bamford, Executive Director of Mergers at the CMA.

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Competition authorities around the world are actively looking into AI.

“While we remain open-minded, and haven’t drawn any conclusions, our aim is to better understand the complex partnerships and arrangements at play,” Bamford added.

The anti-trust regulator is inviting views by May 9.

The CMA said it is also considering feedback received earlier this year on Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI and is currently waiting for information it has requested from the firms.

It has not yet opened a formal Phase 1 review of the Microsoft-OpenAI deal.

The authority said it remains vigilant against the possibility that incumbent technology firms could use partnerships and investments to shield themselves from competition.

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