Fear of regulators

Microsoft and Apple avoid OpenAI board of directors

10.07.2024 13:16

Microsoft has recently been content to take a back seat in its billion-euro investment in ChatGPT inventor OpenAI. This could be due to the fact that regulators around the world are increasingly scrutinizing investments by large technology companies in start-ups that deal with AI.

Microsoft made a multi-billion dollar pact with OpenAI to incorporate the technology behind the chatbot ChatGPT into its own products. The deal gave OpenAI access to the computer infrastructure needed to train the AI models.

Apple will soon give users of its devices the opportunity to access ChatGPT more easily. According to media reports, this was intended to give the US iPhone company an observer role on the OpenAI supervisory board.

However, Microsoft has now given up its position as an "observer" on the OpenAI Board of Directors, as reported by the Financial Times and the Bloomberg financial service, among others. Apple will not even take up a similar position, according to reports citing informed persons.

AI business in the sights of regulators
Antitrust watchdogs in the EU and the US are currently investigating the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI. This is part of an increased focus on competition in the fast-growing AI business.

Lina Khan, head of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is among those concerned that tech giants could quickly gain a dominant role through partnerships with AI start-ups.

Last year, Microsoft took on the role of observer on OpenAI's board of directors after the short-term dismissal of CEO Sam Altman by the board of directors led to leadership chaos. Altman was quickly reinstated - but Microsoft saw its investment at risk and wanted safeguards. The position on the Board of Directors was not associated with voting rights.

"No longer necessary"
According to reports, Microsoft manager Keith Dolliver wrote in a letter to OpenAI that the newly formed board of directors had made progress in the meantime and that the company was moving in the right direction. Microsoft's position on the board is therefore "no longer necessary".

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