Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedApril 24, 2024

CCIA UK issues statement responding to CMA examination of Mistral AI, Anthropic partnerships

In response to an announcement today that the UK Competition and Markets Authority will examine AI partnerships between Microsoft and Mistral AI and Amazon and Anthropic, the Computer & Communications Industry Association issued the following response. CCIA has advocated for competition in the tech industry since 1972. 

The following can be attributed to Matthew Sinclair, Senior Director, UK at CCIA

“The CMA needs to be cautious as a formal investigation into a modest partnership agreement, based on speculative concerns, could be hugely disruptive and deter investment in vitally important AI innovation. If commercial agreements are held up by overly broad and premature regulatory scrutiny, that will make it harder for a diverse range of businesses to invest, innovate and compete, undermining competition in what is currently a dynamic market. The CMA should act proportionately and not risk the UK’s hard-won reputation for responsible regulation.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Matt Schruers:

“Regulatory scrutiny of limited collaborations between foreign companies does not bode well for continued investment in this critical area. Partnerships that enable products and services to scale quickly to deployment won’t happen if every transaction invites inquiries from an indefinite number of regulatory bodies abroad. That math just doesn’t favor the AI innovation we must encourage to meet today’s challenges.”

CMA invited comments on these partnerships by May 9, though noted all partnerships are not mergers and this step is not a formal investigation.

Additional background information:

Recent research by Copenhagen Economics (commissioned by CCIA) found that:

  • There were “no evident signs of immediate competition concerns, with a number of new entrants present with diversified products and business models.”
  • “Vertical collaborations between large digital players and GenAI startups are common and generate efficiencies, as they allow AI startups to access highly specialised hardware and computing power, additional support and investments.”
  • “However, if a larger partner uses its market power to exercise decisive control over a startup or gain privileged or exclusive access to its technology, this may harm competition across the value chain or may ultimately remove or dampen potential competition from the startup itself in the Gen AI or related markets. Any competitive implications will depend on the nature of the assets and capabilities brought together by the agreement, and its specific design. We find that partnerships are less likely to create competition concerns if there are a) no/limited exclusivity conditions, either in supply or distribution, and b) limited privileged access to the startup’s valuable technological assets.” Neither of those conditions appear to be met in the case of the agreement between Anthropic and Amazon in particular.