According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, large tech companies are engaged in a heated rivalry to obtain copious amounts of content and data for training artificial intelligence (AI) models.
The U.S. government sued Google in an antitrust trial, which Nadella was testifying in. This is the first significant antitrust lawsuit involving the tech sector to be brought in the country since the government sued Microsoft in 1998. In his testimony, Google CEO Satya Nadella claimed that it had locked down material through expensive exclusive partnerships and added that the competition among tech companies for content “reminds me of the early phases of distribution deals.”
According to the government’s antitrust case against Google, which holds approximately 90% of the search market, the company has been paying $10 billion per year in illegal distribution fees to wireless carriers like AT&T and smartphone manufacturers like Apple in order to be the default search engine on their products.
Nadella stated that Microsoft is “happy to put in the dollars” to purchase the servers required to fuel AI models, but added that it has been “problematic” reaching agreements with major content producers.
“They say Google’s going to write this check and it’s exclusive and you have to match it,” Nadella said. “When I am dealing with publishers now, they say.
Huge amounts of data are needed to train the sophisticated language models used by AI algorithms, and most of this material is often scraped from the internet. If this content is utilized without the publisher’s consent, however, there may be legal repercussions.
A number of AI platforms have been sued for using copyrighted materials to train AI models, including OpenAI, which has received a sizeable investment from Microsoft.
The Microsoft 365 Copilot, which can be used in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs, as well as the company’s paid Copilot services, Bing Chat Enterprise and GitHub Copilot, were all subject to a copyright commitment that Microsoft announced in September. Under this commitment, Microsoft would take on any potential legal risk incurred by users of these services. Users must follow the Copilot’s guidelines and filters to keep their liability covered.
According to Microsoft, it is “sensitive to the concerns of authors, and we believe that Microsoft rather than our customers should assume the responsibility to address them.”
The business emphasized in its September release that “it is essential for authors to retain control of their rights under copyright law and earn a healthy return on their creations.” And we should make sure that the content required to train and ground AI models is not concentrated in the hands of a single company or a small group of enterprises in a way that would restrict innovation or competition.