The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering investigating Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI to determine if it led to an “acquisition of control.”
In a news release spotted by Engadget, the CMA said it’s “issuing an ITC to determine whether the Microsoft/OpenAI partnership, including recent developments, has resulted in a relevant merger situation and, if so, the potential impact on competition. 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 percent of the voting rights over another entity.”
The “recent developments” likely refer to the OpenAI drama that saw CEO Sam Altman ousted and almost hired at Microsoft before returning to the helm at OpenAI. Following Altman’s return, OpenAI created a new board, which included giving Microsoft a non-voting observer.
Microsoft highlighted its non-voting role in a statement to Engadget, saying that it’s “very different from an acquisition such as Google’s purchase of DeepMind in the UK.” Microsoft also acknowledged that it has had a partnership with OpenAI since 2019 that preserves the independence of both companies. The company says it will work closely with CMA to “provide all the information it needs.”
Microsoft has been under close scrutiny in the U.K. this year, with the CMA probing the company’s merger with Activision Blizzard. The CMA’s probe ultimately led Microsoft to sell Activision Blizzard game streaming rights to Ubisoft.
Image credit: Microsoft