Federal Trade Commission launches investigation into Amazon, Google, and Microsoft’s investments in OpenAI and Anthropic

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an investigation into Amazon, Google, and Microsoft’s investments and partnerships in OpenAI and Anthropic, including through the provision of cloud services to artificial intelligence companies.

The Commission wants to better understand partnerships between companies and their potential impact on the competitive landscape.

“History shows that new technologies can create new markets and healthy competition. As companies race to develop and monetize AI, we must guard against tactics that foreclose this opportunity, “said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “Our study will shed light on whether investments and partnerships pursued by dominant companies risk distorting innovation and undermining fair competition.”

The orders sent by the companies will examine three billion investments: Microsoft and OpenAI, Amazon and Anthropic and Google and Anthropic.

The Federal Trade Commission has sent inquiries to companies seeking answers to the following questions:

  • Information about a specific investment or partnership, including agreements and strategic rationale for the investment/partnership.
  • Practical implications of a particular partnership or investment, including decisions on new product launches, management or oversight rights, and topics for regular meetings.
  • Analysis of the impact of the transaction on competitiveness, including information related to market share, competition, competitors, markets, potential for sales growth or expansion into product or geographic markets. 
  • Competition for AI inputs and resources, including the dynamics of competition for key products and services required for generative AI. 
  • Information provided to any other government agency, including foreign government organizations, in connection with any investigation, request for information or other request related to these topics.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, and Anthropic have 45 days to respond.

Earlier, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were in talks about who would take over the investigation of Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI.

In addition, the European Union is also considering launching an investigation into the investment.