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Microsoft’s Partnership With Mistral Is Not Under Investigation By British Regulators

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(CTN News) – Concerns raised by the Competition and Markets Authority of the United Kingdom regarding Microsoft’s artificial intelligence partnership with Mistral have been addressed from a regulatory standpoint.

An earlier request for advice had been made to the authority over whether or not the arrangement constituted a merger.

In a brief update that was released on Friday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) declared that the acquisition “does not qualify for investigation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.”

Microsoft has not been found to have “material influence” over Mistral, according to a spokeswoman for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). This conclusion was reached on the basis of evidence presented by both Microsoft and Mistral, as well as additional comments from the industry.

“Partnerships and investment are crucial for new entrants in the AI economy,” a spokesman from Microsoft wrote in an email to CNBC. “We applaud the CMA’s ruling that our partnership and fractional investment in Mistral AI do not meet the criteria for a merger or acquisition.”

At the time when CNBC attempted to get in touch with Mistral, the company did not reply to a request for comment.

In the beginning of this year, Microsoft made an investment of 15 million euros,

Which is equivalent to around 16 million dollars, in Mistral, a French artificial intelligence startup that was founded in 2023.

The French company’s massive language models will be included into the Azure cloud computing platform of the American technology giant in exchange for the acquisition of a minority investment in Mistral by the American technology behemoth.

In order to determine whether or not partnerships between larger technology companies in the United States and smaller artificial intelligence companies constitute mergers, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has requested the opinions of concerned parties.

As part of its efforts to achieve this purpose, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigated whether or not the employment of certain former employees from the artificial intelligence company Inflection and minority investment agreements between Microsoft and the ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Mistral constitute mergers.

An arrangement between Amazon and the artificial intelligence company Anthropic was the subject of a separate request for opinion from the watchdog.

It has been declared by the regulatory body that it would no longer be conducting an investigation into Microsoft’s investment in Mistral.

Regarding the investigations that it is doing into the Amazon-Inflection transaction, OpenAI acquisition, and the employment of former Inflection personnel, it has not disclosed any new information.

Microsoft has, in the past, denied charges that its transactions involving OpenAI and Mistral, as well as the recruitment of staff from Inflection, constituted mergers.

Furthermore, Amazon has emphasized that its partnership with Anthropic is not a merger but rather a restricted corporate investment. This is in contrast to the previous statement.

The CMA is currently investigating Microsoft’s involvement in the OpenAI project, so the position remains open on the other two deals, according to Alex Haffner, a competition partner at Fladgate.

This is because the CMA has confirmed the findings of its inquiry into Mistral, which leaves the situation unresolved.

The CMA is expected to make several further announcements in the near future regarding the outcome of their ongoing workstreams in this area, as Haffner stated via email, “It is clear that competition authorities continue to monitor developments in the artificial intelligence sector very closely.”

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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