CMA Raises Concerns in AI Foundation Models Market

  • CMA expresses growing concerns over AI Foundation Models (FMs) market.
  • Sarah Cardell, CEO of CMA, highlights the potential risks of market dominance by incumbent tech giants.
  • Over 90 partnerships involving major players like Google, Apple, and Microsoft have been identified.
  • Risks to fair competition include control over critical inputs, market position exploitation, and exacerbation of market power through partnerships.
  • CMA emphasizes proactive measures to safeguard competition and innovation in FM markets.

Main AI News:

The latest update from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) underscores growing apprehensions in the AI Foundation Models (FMs) market. Last year, the CMA introduced a framework aimed at fostering innovation and steering these markets towards favorable outcomes for businesses, consumers, and the broader economy.

In a recent address at a Washington DC conference, Chief Executive Officer Sarah Cardell delved into the CMA’s ongoing efforts concerning FMs. Cardell emphasized the potential transformative impact of FMs, describing them as a potential “paradigm shift” for societies and economies. However, she also highlighted the rapid developments within FM markets, which, bolstered by the CMA’s deepened understanding of the FM ecosystem, have raised significant concerns.

One notable concern highlighted in Cardell’s speech is the increasing dominance of a select few incumbent technology giants within FM markets. These firms hold substantial market power in today’s crucial digital markets, influencing both FM development and deployment. This consolidation of power raises fears that these firms may manipulate markets to their advantage, potentially stifling competition and innovation, ultimately to the detriment of businesses and consumers.

The CMA’s forthcoming update paper identifies over 90 partnerships and strategic investments involving major players like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, and Nvidia. While acknowledging the considerable resources and innovation capabilities these firms bring, the CMA stresses the importance of preserving competition and diversity in the market. It cautions against partnerships that could limit competition or entrench the dominance of major players, emphasizing the need for a level playing field to realize the full potential of AI.

Reflecting on past experiences in digital markets, Cardell underscores the importance of applying lessons learned to this new technological frontier. She outlines three interconnected risks to fair competition in FM markets, including control over critical inputs, exploitation of market positions, and partnerships exacerbating market power. The CMA’s update paper outlines strategies to mitigate these risks, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures to safeguard competition and innovation.

Cardell reassures stakeholders that the CMA is closely monitoring developments in FM markets, utilizing merger control powers to assess partnerships and arrangements for potential competition concerns. She emphasizes the importance of clarity in regulatory oversight, noting that a transparent and competitive environment benefits businesses and consumers alike.


The CMA’s insights into the AI Foundation Models market underscore the need for vigilant regulatory oversight to prevent market manipulation and safeguard fair competition. The dominance of major players and the interconnected risks identified pose significant challenges for market dynamics. Proactive measures and transparent regulatory frameworks are essential to ensure that AI technology realizes its potential while fostering a competitive and innovative market environment.