Microsoft quits OpenAI board seat as antitrust scrutiny of AI partnerships intensifies

Microsoft has relinquished its seat on the board of OpenAI, saying its participation is not wanted as a result of the ChatGPT maker has improved its governance since being roiled by boardroom chaos final yr.

In a Tuesday letter, Microsoft confirmed it was resigning, “efficient instantly,” from its function as an observer on the synthetic intelligence firm’s board.

“We recognize the assist proven by OpenAI management and the OpenAI board as we made this determination,” the letter mentioned.

The shock departure comes amid intensifying scrutiny from antitrust regulators of the highly effective AI partnership. Microsoft has reportedly invested $13 billion in OpenAI.

European Union regulators mentioned final month that they’d take a fresh look on the partnership underneath the 27-nation bloc’s antitrust guidelines whereas British competitors watchdogs have additionally been wanting into the deal.

Microsoft took the board seat following an influence wrestle by which OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired, then shortly reinstated, whereas the board members behind the ouster had been pushed out.

“Over the previous eight months we have now witnessed important progress by the newly shaped board and are assured within the firm’s path,” Microsoft mentioned in its letter. “Given all of this we not consider our restricted function as an observer is critical.”

With Microsoft’s departure, OpenAI will not have observer seats on its board.

“We’re grateful to Microsoft for voicing confidence within the Board and the path of the corporate, and we sit up for persevering with our profitable partnership,” OpenAI mentioned in an announcement.

It’s not onerous to conclude that Microsoft’s determination to ditch the board seat was closely influenced by rising scrutiny of large know-how corporations and their hyperlinks with AI startups, mentioned Alex Haffner, a contest accomplice at U.Ok. regulation agency Fladgate.

“It’s clear that regulators are very a lot targeted on the advanced net of inter-relationships that Massive Tech has created with AI suppliers, therefore the necessity for Microsoft and others to fastidiously take into account how they construction these preparations going ahead,” he mentioned.

OpenAI mentioned it might take a brand new strategy to “informing and interesting key strategic companions” such as Microsoft and Apple and buyers such as Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures, with common conferences to replace stakeholders on progress and guarantee stronger collaboration on security and safety.

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