Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI and Google’s deal to install its generative AI (GenAI) capabilities on Samsung devices attracted fresh antitrust scrutiny from the European Commission (EC).

EC EVP for competition policy Margrethe Vestager (pictured) stated it will send Microsoft and OpenAI follow-up questions under antitrust rules “to understand whether certain exclusivity clauses could have a negative effect on competitors”.

A representative for Microsoft told Mobile World Live (MWL) that it stands “ready to respond to any additional questions the European Commission may have”.

The antitrust regulator is also sending requests for information “to better understand the effects of Google’s arrangement with Samsung to pre-install its small model Gemini nano on certain Samsung devices”.

The EC concluded in April that Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI did not violate European Union merger rules as the former did not gain control over the latter.

“We appreciate the European Commission’s thorough review and its conclusion that Microsoft’s investment and partnership with OpenAI does not give Microsoft control over the company,” Microsoft stated to MWL.

Vestager added the EC “will keep monitoring the relationships between all the key players in this fast-moving sector, including Microsoft and OpenAI”.

She stated the EC is also concerned that big tech companies’ AI partnerships could make it difficult for smaller AI developers to reach users, which is why the EC is seeking additional information from Google about its Samsung partnership.

She noted the EC is also monitoring ‘acqui-hires’ where a company takes over another mainly for its employees, citing Microsoft and Inflection AI as a primary example.

“The commercialisation of AI and its powerful tools is going to be lead by a few companies that already have a lot of market power,” Vestager said. “So we remain vigilant.”