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German Antitrust Chief Warns AI Threatens Open Ecosystems in Tech

According to Andreas Mundt, AI technologies might turn into "closed shops" where users remain trapped within a single provider's ecosystem.

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Andreas Mundt, the head of the German Federal Cartel Office, has warned that the growing role of artificial intelligence (AI) could become a significant disadvantage for consumers. He described AI as an “accelerant of the first order” in terms of competition issues.

Mundt detailed these concerns and the agency's approach to addressing them at the Federal Cartel Office's annual press conference. He described AI as a major accelerant for competition issues, warning that AI advancements could amplify the influence of tech giants like Google and Amazon, worsening current problems.

AI as a Closed Shop

According to Mundt, AI technologies might turn into “closed shops” where users remain trapped within a single provider's ecosystem. This situation could complicate market competition, reinforcing the stronghold of large tech corporations. Together with French and EU regulators, the German authority is examining ways to tackle these rising issues.

Mundt emphasized that the power of companies, such as and , would be further amplified by AI, exacerbating existing problems. He cautioned that dependence on these firms could have severe consequences, especially if they were to adopt anti-democratic or anti-human rights stances, leaving consumers with no alternatives.

Big Tech as Gatekeepers

Mundt sees Big Tech companies as gatekeepers, controlling access to the digital world and other service providers. However, he noted that in the realm of AI, these gatekeepers would no longer exist, resulting in a closed ecosystem where users are confined. This would mean that responses or services would come exclusively from a single provider, such as Google, without any outside options.

He also expressed concern that AI's growing influence might disadvantage consumers. He warned of severe consequences if these tech companies adopt anti-democratic or anti-human rights positions, leaving users without alternatives. In his view, Big Tech acts as gatekeepers to the digital realm, thereby controlling access to a range of services.

Mundt pointed to the significant power held by major technology companies as a primary concern for regulators. The deeper integration of AI could amplify these existing antitrust worries, making it more challenging to ensure fair competition. The German watchdog aims to prevent these firms from using AI to solidify their market dominance.

Advocating for European Cloud Solutions

Mundt also cautioned that growing market concentration is a notable threat, particularly with AI's increasing role. He proposed that a European cloud infrastructure could address this issue, emphasizing the urgent need for Europe to develop its own systems.

To counter these risks, the German authority is pushing for such a European cloud solution to lessen reliance on Big Tech-dominated cloud services. Mundt emphasized the importance of European self-sufficiency in cloud infrastructure, which is essential for . The agency is currently running multiple investigations into whether these major firms exploit their dominant positions to harm consumers.

He underlined the need of global cooperation, stressing that European regulators are combining efforts to address AI-related competition challenges. The agency is particularly worried about the control Big Tech firms have over both the hardware necessary for AI and the user interfaces consumers interact with.

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.