The United Kingdom’s (UK) Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI.

The competition regulator announced on Friday (Dec.8) it would consider if Microsoft’s partnership with the artificial intelligence (AI) firm behind ChatGPT has resulted in “a substantial lessening of competition” within the nation’s technology sector.

It’s not the first time the CMA has scrutinized the tech giant. The organization is already conducting a separate probe into the supply of public cloud infrastructure services after telecoms watchdog Ofcom flagged the dominance of Amazon and Microsoft.

The first stage of this latest investigation into Microsoft gives those involved and interested third parties to comment on the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI and the impact that the merger could have on competition in the UK.

Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Director for Mergers at the CMA said: “The invitation to comment is the first part of the CMA’s information-gathering process and comes in advance of launching any phase 1 investigation, which would only happen once the CMA has received the information it needs from the partnership parties.”

OpenAI and Microsoft partnership deepens

In November, OpenAI sought to expand its partnership with the world’s second most valuable company (behind Apple) and raise additional capital from the tech giant and other investors, according to CEO Sam Altman.

Earlier this year, Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI, valuing the San Francisco-based startup at $29 billion. While not disclosing specific financial details, Altman indicated OpenAI has seen strong revenue growth in 2022 but remains unprofitable due to high research and development expenses associated with developing increasingly sophisticated AI models.

While OpenAI and ChatGPT remain the household names in the generative AI space, they have fierce competition looking to cut in. Google launched its most sophisticated AI yet; Gemini, in early December, Amazon has Q which is a chatbot aimed at business and Elon Musk has his own AI start-up called xAI.

The race is on to become the dominant force in AI, and for now, Microsoft and OpenAI have a headstart.

Featured Image: Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash 

Sam Shedden

Managing Editor

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications including The Scotsman, inews.co.uk, nationalworld.com, Edinburgh Evening News, The Daily Record and more. Sam has written and edited content for audiences whose interests include media, technology, AI, start-ups and innovation. He's also produced and set-up email newsletters in numerous specialist topics in previous roles and his work on newsletters saw him nominated as Newsletter Hero Of The Year at the UK's Publisher Newsletter Awards 2023. He has worked in roles focused on growing reader revenue and loyalty at one of the UK's leading news publishers, National World plc growing quality, profitable news sites. He has given industry talks and presentations sharing his experience growing digital audiences to international audiences. Now a Managing Editor at Readwrite.com, Sam is involved in all aspects of the site's news operation including commissioning, fact-checking, editing and content planning.