Microsoft's Mistral AI partnership will not be investigated, UK watchdog rules

May 17, 2024
Darren Parkin

MICROSOFT'S partnership with French artificial intelligence start-up Mistral AI has been given the green light after the UK's competition authority said it would not be investigating the business move.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) invited views on the tie-up last month, but today announced an investigation would not be necessary.

The American multi-national ploughed $16 million into Mistral in February with a view to making its AI models available to users of its Azure platform.

Eyebrows were raised at the deal, owing to the enormous market size of Microsoft, but the CMA says nothing has encroached into UK competition regulations.

"The CMA has considered information submitted by Microsoft and Mistral AI, together with feedback received in response to its invitation to comment," the watchdog said.

"Based on the evidence, the CMA does not believe that Microsoft has acquired material influence over Mistral AI as a result of the partnership and therefore does not qualify for investigation."

Microsoft, meanwhile, responded by stating investment and partnerships were essential to start-ups in the AI economy.

"We welcome the CMA's determination that our fractional investment and partnership with Mistral AI does not qualify as a merger or acquisition," a spokesperson said.