The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened an inquiry into the investments of Big Tech companies that provide cloud services to smaller AI companies like OpenAI and Anthropic. The FTC sent letters to Alphabet, Amazon, Anthropic, Microsoft, and OpenAI, requiring the companies to explain the impact these investments have on the competitive landscape of generative AI. The commission wants to “scrutinize corporate partnerships and investments with AI providers to build a better internal understanding of these relationships and their impact on the competitive landscape.” Google and Amazon invested in Anthropic, while Microsoft has a close financial relationship with OpenAI. The FTC wants information on the specific investment agreements between the companies and how the partnerships influence product releases and oversight rights. It also wants an analysis of how these investments impact the market share, competition, and potential for sales growth in the sector; if there is competition for resources to develop AI products; and any information each company may have given to other government entities. The companies have 45 days to respond to the agency. The Verge reached out to Anthropic for comment. OpenAI and Amazon declined to comment. “The US has assumed a global AI leadership position because important American companies are working together,” Microsoft corporate vice president, competition and market regulation group, Rima Alalily said in a statement sent to The Verge. “Partnerships between independent companies like Microsoft and OpenAI, as well as among many others, are promoting competition and accelerating innovation. We look forward to providing the FTC with the information it needs to complete its study.”
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