The European Union is considering whether to launch a review of Microsoft's investment in OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, under the bloc's merger regulations. This comes just a month after the U.K. expressed similar concerns about the impact of the tech partnership on competition.
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, announced on Tuesday that it is seeking input from interested parties on the level of competition in virtual worlds and generative artificial intelligence. The commission also wants feedback on what competition law can do to ensure these new markets remain competitive.
"The European Commission is checking whether Microsoft's investment in OpenAI might be reviewable under the EU Merger Regulation," stated the commission.
These regulatory moves in Europe follow the recent firing and reinstatement of OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman, as well as the formation of a new board. Microsoft now holds a non-voting observer position on the board.
According to Microsoft, their partnership with OpenAI has fostered more innovation and competition in the field of AI since 2019 while ensuring the independence of both companies. "The only recent change is that Microsoft will have a non-voting observer on OpenAI's board," stated a Microsoft spokesperson.
OpenAI did not provide any comment when approached for remarks.
OpenAI gained significant attention in late 2022 with the release of its ChatGPT chatbot. Shortly after, Microsoft became a major partner, investing $13 billion in exchange for a 49% stake in the earnings of OpenAI's for-profit arm.
Interested parties are invited to provide feedback to the EU by March 11.
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