FTC Investigating Five AI Companies in Antitrust Probe
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week announced an investigation into the finances of five influential artificial intelligence (AI) companies, including Microsoft, to head off possible anticompetitive practices.
Under scrutiny are Google's parent company Alphabet, Amazon, Anthropic, Microsoft and OpenAI. The FTC reqested that they "provide information regarding recent investments and partnerships." Also, the investigation is specifically focused on the following deals, per a Thursday FTC press release:
The inquiry is an early step by the U.S. government to forestall a monopoly or any other antitrust issues in the generative AI market.
"History shows that new technologies can create new markets and healthy competition," said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan in a prepared statement. "As companies race to develop and monetize AI, we must guard against tactics that foreclose this opportunity."
The companies are being asked to provide documents under section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which lets the FTC order companies to provide information about their business practices without a criminal investigation.
Examples of information that the FTC is requesting include studies on each deal's impact on the participants' market shares and the overall AI market, product roadmaps, plans around hiring and staff allocation, any information given to outside governments related to the deal, exclusivity agreements between the participants of the deal, and more.
The 6(b) inquiry, dated Jan. 24, gives the companies 45 days to file the required information with the FTC. A copy of the request can be viewed here.