FTC investigates AI partnerships

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an inquiry into partnerships and investments between major tech companies and generative AI providers. The aim is to build a better understanding of the competitive dynamics and implications of these relationships. The FTC issued orders under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act to companies involved in three separate multi-billion-dollar partnerships: Microsoft and OpenAI, Amazon and Anthropic, and Google and Anthropic1. The FTC is seeking specific information related to the strategic rationale of the partnerships, the practical implications of these partnerships, the transactions' competitive impact, and competition for AI inputs and resources1. The inquiry will examine how these investment deals alter the competitive landscape and whether they risk distorting innovation and undermining fair competition9. FTC Chair Lina M. Khan stated that the study will shed light on whether such partnerships pursued by dominant companies risk distorting innovation and undermining fair competition111. The FTC's inquiry can be viewed as policy research, aiming to overcome a chronic knowledge deficit in the rapidly evolving field of AI3. The inquiry comes amid concerns about the influence of dominant tech firms over the generative AI boom, which has fueled demand for chatbots and other AI tools that can produce novel imagery and sound7. The FTC's investigation targets Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, scrutinizing whether these ties enable dominant firms to exert undue influence or gain unfair competitive advantages10.
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