UK: Submission to Competition and Markets Authority on AI partnerships

UK: Submission to Competition and Markets Authority on AI partnerships - Digital

Photo by Phil Murphy on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed

In May 2024, ARTICLE 19 and partner civil society organisations made a joint submission to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (the CMA) invitation to comment on three artificial intelligence (AI) partnerships: Microsoft/Inflection, Microsoft/Mistral, and Amazon/Anthropic. The CMA should immediately investigate all these partnerships and assess their impact on the entire AI sector and ecosystem. Any delay could result in a cementing and expansion of the concentration of power we have seen in the search, browser, and cloud markets. 

We welcome the opportunity from the CMA to comment on partnerships between big tech incumbents Microsoft and Amazon and AI companies Mistral, Anthropic, and Inflection AI. This submission builds on our January contribution, which was specific to the Microsoft/OpenAI partnership.  

This submission covers: 

  1. Why these partnerships between AI companies should be investigated; 
  2. Specific issues with each partnership; and 
  3. Ways forward for the CMA to preserve competition in the AI sector. 

It is not too late to preserve competition in AI markets—but the CMA must step in now. If, upon investigation, the CMA finds the agreements are anticompetitive, the CMA should unwind the partnerships. Antitrust authorities will also need to move towards remedies that proactively shape the AI market, including structural interventions, common carrier/public utility rules, fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) competition obligations, forced licensing, and, if necessary, full corporate quarantines — to keep the AI sector a vibrant, competitive landscape.  

The CMA should not hesitate to wield the tools it has now and those that will be made available to it under the new competition regime. It must act before tech giants lock markets and ecosystems in, in a way that will be very hard to unpick later. 

Read the full submission