Regulators in the United Kingdom are keeping a watchful eye on the local artificial intelligence (AI) scene as Big Tech companies continue to dominate the space. 

On April 24, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is in the process of collecting information from major market players to understand if the increasing collaboration between and AI developer Anthropic threatens local competition.

In September 2023, Amazon announced an agreement to invest $4 billion into Anthropic in an effort to support its development of high-performing foundation models.

Later, in March 2024, the web services giant said it fulfilled its $4-billion investment commitment, revealing a minority ownership stake in the company and the implementation of AWS as Anthropic’s cloud service provider.

Now, both companies are facing a potential in-depth antitrust probe from U.K. regulators. This comes a week after the agency highlighted Big Tech’s “interconnected web” of deals and partnerships in the market.

It also said it will be looking into a partnership between Microsoft and Mistral AI, one of Europe’s leading AI startups. This is in addition to an investigation by U.K. regulators over Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar collaboration with OpenAI, which was opened in December 2023.

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Joel Bamford, the executive director of mergers at the CMA, commented on the development:

“We will assess, objectively and impartially, whether each of these 3 deals fall within UK merger rules and, if they do, whether they have any impact on competition in the UK.”

However, back in January, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called its deal with OpenAI “pro-competition,” saying that partnerships are an avenue to having competition in the AI space against some of the players who are completely already integrated.

The scrutiny from the CMA comes after its findings revealed a pattern of Big Tech companies funneling money into AI companies that could allow them to shape markets, creating concern for competition. 

The agency said it is trying to avoid past mistakes that have led to the rise of a select number of dominating platforms.

Nonetheless, companies like Microsoft and Google have been pouring billions of dollars into AI development in countries around the world, including, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Germany and France.

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