FTC opens investigation into Big Tech’s partnerships with leading AI startups

U.S. antitrust enforcers are opening an investigation into the relationships between leading artificial intelligence startups such as ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Anthropic and the tech giants that have invested billions of dollars into them.

The action targets Amazon, Google and Microsoft and their sway over the generative AI boom that’s fueled demand for chatbots such as ChatGPT, and other AI tools that can produce novel imagery and sound.

“We’re scrutinizing whether these ties enable dominant firms to exert undue influence or gain privileged access in ways that could undermine fair competition,” said Lina Khan, chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, in opening remarks at a Thursday AI forum.

Khan said the market inquiry would review “the investments and partnerships being formed between AI developers and major cloud service providers.”

The FTC said Thursday it issued “compulsory orders” to five companies — cloud providers Amazon, Google and Microsoft, and AI startups Anthropic and OpenAI — requiring them to provide information regarding investments and partnerships.