Monday, July 15, 2024

Microsoft and Apple steer clear of OpenAI board amidst increasing US regulatory scrutiny

Big Tech Giants Withdraw from OpenAI Board Amid Antitrust Scrutiny

In a surprising turn of events, both Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. have decided to step down as observers on OpenAI’s board. This decision comes at a time when Big Tech companies are facing increasing scrutiny from antitrust regulators regarding their influence over artificial intelligence.

Microsoft, which has invested a significant amount in OpenAI, informed the startup of its withdrawal from the board in a letter, while Apple was expected to follow suit but ultimately chose not to take up a similar role. As a result, OpenAI will no longer have any board observers following Microsoft’s departure.

The move comes after European regulators announced plans to survey Microsoft’s rivals about OpenAI’s exclusive use of its technology, putting the company under pressure as it seeks to leverage OpenAI’s services for its Windows and Copilot AI platforms. Additionally, the US is reportedly launching a separate antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s dominance in the AI field.

In a memo reviewed by Bloomberg News, Microsoft expressed confidence in OpenAI’s direction and progress but stated that it no longer saw its role as an observer as necessary. The company, known for its Azure cloud computing service, is also facing questions about its investments in other AI startups, including a probe by the FTC into its deal with Inflection AI.

OpenAI, in a statement to Bloomberg News, thanked Microsoft for its support and voiced optimism about the future of their partnership. However, the company did not directly address the decisions of Apple and Microsoft to step down as board observers. The Financial Times first reported on Microsoft’s exit from the board.

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