Britain’s competition regulator said Friday it’s looking at whether Microsoft is now in control over OpenAI.

“There have recently been a number of developments in the governance of
OpenAI, some of which involved Microsoft,” the regulator noted.

Sam Altman was fired — and then re-hired — as chief executive of OpenAI, the nonprofit that has created the popular ChatGPT language learning model.

Through it all, Microsoft

played a key role — at first hiring Altman to unite the software company directly, and then blessing his reinstatement at OpenAI. Microsoft now has a non-voting role on the board.

The U.K. regulator noted the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI includes a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment, collaboration in technology development and exclusive provision of cloud services by Microsoft to OpenAI.

The regulator said it will review whether the partnership has resulted in an acquisition of control, and if so, its impact on competition in the U.K.

Microsoft shares slipped 0.5% in premarket trade, having rallied 55% this year.

Also read from MarketWatch: The Sam Altman drama knocked Microsoft’s stock around. So why is its deal with OpenAI largely a secret to Wall Street?

And: Gemini, Google’s long-awaited answer to ChatGPT, is an overnight hit

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