U.K. Regulators Clear Microsoft-Mistral Partnership from Competition Probe

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British regulators announced Friday that they don’t need to initiate a competition investigation into Microsoft’s partnership with the French artificial intelligence company Mistral. This decision comes a month after seeking industry feedback on the deal.

Earlier this year, Microsoft revealed its collaboration with the buzzworthy French startup, a strategic move that could reduce the software giant’s dependence on ChatGPT-maker OpenAI for the next generation of chatbots and other generative AI products.

In a brief update, the Competition and Markets Authority stated that the partnership “does not qualify for investigation” under U.K. merger rules.

Back in April, the watchdog had solicited comments from “interested third parties” to determine if an in-depth antitrust investigation was warranted.

By opting not to investigate the deal, “the CMA confirmed that the structure of the partnership between Mistral and Microsoft does not grant sufficient rights/influence to Microsoft,” said Alex Haffner, a competition partner at U.K. law firm Fladgate, via email.

The watchdog is still examining Microsoft’s hiring of key staff from another startup, Inflection AI, as well as Amazon’s $4 billion investment in San Francisco-based Anthropic. No updates have been provided on these reviews, which were announced concurrently last month.

Additionally, there has been no update on the review of Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI since the request for comments on that deal in December.

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