Artificial intelligence: Mistral AI's collaboration with Microsoft is raising eyebrows in Brussels

Artificial intelligence: Mistral AI’s collaboration with Microsoft is raising eyebrows in Brussels

A French start-up and an American giant? The strategic partnership between Mistral AI and Microsoft, announced on Monday, February 26, led to some irritated reactions in Brussels. The young artificial intelligence (AI) company is suspected of questioning its independence by joining the US digital heavyweight.

It has been criticized for casually deviating from its commitment to open models published in open source, in favor of a more commercial logic. Mistral AI argues against the misunderstanding and assures that it has not changed its strategy, which co-founder Arthur Mensch regrets “creative interpretations” of his announcements.

Ads “many people surprised” got mad at X Kai Zenner, parliamentary assistant to German MEP Axel Voss (European People’s Party). “Mistral will be the new OpenAI and join forces with Microsoft (…). It no longer has the profile of the ‘truly independent European champion’ that we had in mind during the discussions on the AI ​​law. he wrote, recalling the annoyance of certain parliamentarians at Mistral AI’s lobbying against the provisions of this draft European regulation.

“European regulators have been fooled”

“Recent developments confirm that cutting back on measures was not a good thing” of the AI ​​law, Italian Brando Benifei (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament), co-rapporteur on the text, told Reuters.

“The draft regulation almost failed as some called for abolishing the rules to create “European champions”. The European regulators have been fooled.” added to Reuters the Dutch Kim van Sparrentak, a member of the European Parliament (Group of the Greens-European Free Alliance), who, together with three environmental activist colleagues, wrote a letter to the Brussels Commission requesting an investigation into the lobbying activities of Mistral and France, which defended the same positions.

“If you want to change a competitive ecosystem, you don’t want new entrants to depend on Microsoft’s infrastructure and investments,” bidding on X Open Markets, an American think tank that advocates competition. The Mozilla Foundation, which defends open software, believed that the agreement between Mistral and Microsoft raised concerns “to ask”.

A study as part of an AI market research

When questioned, the European Commission stated that it would investigate the partnership. However, this is not a formal study, but a study as part of a study launched on the AI ​​market in early January. This work will analyze all relationships between startups and large groups, including Anthropic’s deals with Google and Amazon, as well as the agreements between OpenAI and Microsoft. The criticism of Mistral AI is reminiscent of the criticism of the parent company of the ChatGPT service, in which the American giant has invested more than 11 billion euros and of which it is the exclusive distributor. However, the two cases are different, Mistral AI argues.

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