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Microsoft and Apple drop OpenAI board seats due to antitrust fears

Published Jul 10th, 2024 7:35AM EDT
OpenAI photo illustration
Image: CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

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After Bloomberg reported that Apple would get a seat on OpenAI’s board due to its recent partnership with Apple Intelligence features, the Financial Times writes that not only Cupertino won’t join the board, but Microsoft is also dropping its observer seat amid regulatory scrutiny.

With that, both companies will have stakeholder meetings instead of board seats to keep up with OpenAI’s latest plans. To The Verge, OpenAI confirmed this change:

“We’re grateful to Microsoft for voicing confidence in the Board and the direction of the company, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership,” says OpenAI spokesperson Steve Sharpe. “Under the leadership of CFO Sarah Friar, we are establishing a new approach to informing and engaging key strategic partners – such as Microsoft and Apple – and investors – such as Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures.”

To account for these changes, OpenAI will host “regular stakeholders meetings to share progress on our mission and ensure stronger collaboration across safety and security.”

As Microsoft and Apple are under regulatory scrutiny in the UK, the EU, and the US, both companies have been more cautious in avoiding possible sanctions. UK regulators started seeking views on Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI late last year. EU regulators are looking into the partnership and other Big Tech deals, while the FTC investigates investments into OpenAI and Anthropic from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

While Apple isn’t under scrutiny over its OpenAI deal, the European Commission wants to investigate why Cupertino isn’t bringing Apple Intelligence, among other iOS 18 features, to Europe, as the company claims the DMA would make Apple’s platforms less safe.

With that in mind, it makes sense for Apple to drop a possible seat on OpenAI’s board, as Microsoft could already face some scrutiny due to its investor position in the startup.

BGR will continue following the latest news on that matter and will report back once we learn more.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.