2024.07.10 07:01
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Antitrust scrutiny intensifies as Microsoft and Apple plan to withdraw from the OpenAI board

Microsoft and Apple have given up their observer seats on the board of OpenAI, indicating that antitrust regulators are increasingly scrutinizing the influence of large tech companies in the field of artificial intelligence. After investing $13 billion in OpenAI, Microsoft announced its withdrawal from the board, and Apple will also lose its observer seat. This move has sparked investigations into Microsoft's monopoly position in artificial intelligence, as well as an appropriate notification investigation into its deal with Inflection AI. Microsoft's competitors are also under investigation by European regulatory authorities

According to the information obtained by Zhitong Finance and Economics APP, Microsoft (MSFT.US) and Apple (AAPL.US) have decided to give up the opportunity to serve as observers on the board of OpenAI. This unexpected decision highlights the increasing scrutiny of antitrust regulators on the influence of large tech companies in the field of artificial intelligence.

A source revealed that Microsoft, which invested $13 billion in OpenAI, sent a letter to the startup announcing its withdrawal from the board. Apple was also expected to receive a similar observer seat, but a spokesperson for OpenAI stated that the startup will no longer have board observers after Microsoft's departure.

Last month, European regulators announced that they would investigate Microsoft's competitors over OpenAI's exclusive use of its technology. This underscores the growing pressure on Microsoft, which hopes to leverage OpenAI's services to drive its Windows and Copilot AI platforms. It is reported that the U.S. will launch a separate antitrust investigation into Microsoft's monopoly position in this rapidly growing field.

In a memo to OpenAI, Microsoft wrote, "Over the past eight months, we have witnessed significant progress made by the newly established board and are confident in the company's direction." "We no longer believe the role of observer is necessary."

Microsoft, which also operates the Azure cloud computing service, faces scrutiny over its other investments in the field.

Sources say that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Microsoft properly notified antitrust authorities about its deal with Inflection AI. In March of this year, the software giant based in Redmond, Washington, agreed to pay $650 million to the startup for the authorization of its AI software and hired most of Inflection's employees.

In a statement to Bloomberg, OpenAI said, "We appreciate Microsoft's confidence in the board and the direction of the company, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership." The statement did not directly comment on the decisions of Apple or Microsoft