Microsoft and Apple have reportedly dropped their plans to hold observer seats on OpenAI’s board of directors – a move that comes as the Big Tech firms face a widening antitrust crackdown in the US and Europe.

Microsoft, which has committed $13 billion toward CEO Sam Altman’s ChatGPT maker, informed OpenAI in a letter late Tuesday that it would give up its non-voting board seat effective immediately, the Financial Times reported.

Satya Nadella-led Microsoft was set to join OpenAI’s board after an internal coup to oust Altman sparked chaos at the AI firm last fall. Nadella reportedly played a key role in talks that eventually led Altman to return to his post as part of a total overhaul of the board.

“Over the past eight months we have witnessed significant progress from the newly formed board and are confident in the company’s direction,” Microsoft wrote in the memo, according to Bloomberg. “We no longer believe our limited role as an observer is necessary.”

Additionally, Apple – which was set to hold an observer seat after inking a deal to bring ChatGPT features to its most powerful iPhones later this year – will not move forward with the plan, the outlet reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

As recently as last week, Apple’s App Store chief Phil Schiller had been expected to fill the seat, according to Bloomberg.

OpenAI said in a statement that it is “grateful to Microsoft for voicing confidence in the board and the direction of the company, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership.”

The Post reached out to all three firms for further comment.

Antitrust officials in the US and Europe have expressed concerns about the close ties between OpenAI and Microsoft – which did not receive an equity stake as part of its investment but gets a cut of its profits.

In June, reports surfaced that the Federal Trade Commission would spearhead an antitrust inquiry into Microsoft and OpenAI, while the Justice Department would probe AI chip supplier Nvidia.

The agency had already announced a probe into partnerships between Big Tech firms and AI startups, such as the Microsoft-OpenAI tie-up and investments by Google and Amazon into Anthropic.

Last month, the European Commission, the European Union’s antitrust watchdog, said it was prepping an investigation into the deal and whether it hurts competition.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department slapped Apple with a landmark antitrust lawsuit alleging it has taken illegal steps to ensure the dominance of its iPhone within the smartphone market.

Separately, Apple faces the possibility of billions of dollars in fines after the European Commission accused the firm of violating a sweeping tech competition law by stifling rivals within its App Store.

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