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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Microsoft denies taking control at OpenAI after United Kingdom review

'The only thing that has changed is that Microsoft will now have a non-voting observer on OpenAI’s Board,' Microsoft President Brad Smith said

Reuters London Published 09.12.23, 11:00 AM
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Microsoft denied on Friday that it had taken control of OpenAI after Britain's anti-trust regulator said it was reviewing the nature of their partnership.

"The only thing that has changed is that Microsoft will now have a non-voting observer on OpenAI’s Board, which is very different from an acquisition such as Google’s purchase of DeepMind in the UK," Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement.

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"We will work closely with the CMA to provide all the information it needs," he said.

Microsoft said last month it would take a non-voting position on the board of OpenAI, following a dramatic boardroom battle that saw the sudden ouster and return of CEO and founder Sam Altman. Microsoft, which owns 49% of the for-profit subsidiary of the startup, has committed to investing more than $10 billion in OpenAI.

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Friday it will review whether to launch a merger probe of Microsoft's investment in OpenAI to see if it could hurt UK competition. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also examining the nature of Microsoft's investment in OpenAI, and whether it may violate antitrust laws, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Microsoft has recently tangled with both the FTC and the CMA on its acquisition of videogame publisher Activision Blizzard over antitrust concerns.

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