The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) took aim at Microsoft and Amazon’s dealings with AI start-ups, inviting comment from market players to determine if recent partnerships have the potential to hurt competition in the country.

Firstly, the CMA stated it was gathering information about Amazon’s collaboration with Anthropic, after it concluded a move to invest a total of $4 billion in the generative AI company at the end of March.

Also under scrutiny is the partnership between Microsoft and Mistral AI, announced at MWC Barcelona 2024, as well as its relationship with Inflection AI, which made headlines after the start-up lost its CEO and most of its staff to the software giant last month.

The CMA explained it had not formed any conclusions on whether the deals fall within merger rules in the UK or raise competition concerns and the invitation to comment stage is the first part of its information gathering process.

It could then launch a formal Phase 1 review, depending on different factors. The CMA said its announcement follows a report it published recently which outlined risks to open, fair and effective competition in the AI Foundation Model (FM) market.

Joel Bamford, executive director of Mergers at the CMA, said FM’s have the potential to fundamentally impact the way “we all live and work”, and a fair, competitive environment is critical.

“Given the global nature of these markets, competition authorities around the world are actively looking into AI,” he added.

The CMA revealed it is also considering feedback received earlier this year about Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI. The European Commission also looked into the company’s $13 billion investment into the ChatGPT-maker, but decided against a formal investigation.