The European Union is eyeing potential antitrust investigations into Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI and Google’s agreement with Samsung, citing concerns over exclusivity clauses that may stifle competition.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager announced on Friday that regulators will seek additional opinions from third parties regarding these partnerships, highlighting apprehensions globally about major tech firms leveraging their dominance in AI, much like their influence in other sectors.

In March, Vestager’s office sent inquiries to Microsoft, Google, Meta (Facebook), TikTok, and other tech giants regarding their AI partnerships. Following a review of responses received, Vestager indicated plans to gather further information specifically on the Microsoft-OpenAI agreement to assess whether exclusivity clauses could hinder competitors.

Reuters initially reported the EU’s preparation to potentially investigate the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI.

A spokesperson for Microsoft stated their readiness to address any additional queries from the European Commission. Vestager clarified that Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI would not trigger EU merger rules due to the absence of control, despite Microsoft’s substantial investment of $13 billion in a for-profit subsidiary, granting them a potential 49% stake.

Vestager also expressed concerns about the potential for large tech companies to block smaller AI developers from accessing users and businesses. Regarding Google’s deal with Samsung, Vestager disclosed plans to gather information on the arrangement to pre-install Google’s Gemini Nano on certain Samsung devices as part of the Galaxy S24 series smartphones.

Additionally, Vestager noted scrutiny into “acqui-hires,” where a company acquires another primarily for its talent, citing Microsoft’s recent $650-million acquisition of startup Inflection in March as an example. She emphasized the importance of ensuring such practices do not evade merger control rules and lead to undue consolidation in the market.

The developments underscore the EU’s proactive stance in monitoring how tech giants deploy AI technologies, aiming to maintain fair competition and innovation within the sector.