(Bloomberg) -- President Emmanuel Macron said he would prefer that Mistral AI grow independently and that Europe needs more “big players” in the tech sector.

“I would prefer them to become independent and grow on their own,” he said in an interview with CNBC, responding to a question about a hypothetical purchase of the French AI startup by Microsoft Corp. 

Mistral announced a “strategic partnership” with Microsoft in February that includes making the startup’s latest artificial intelligence models available to customers of Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Microsoft said its investment amounted to €15 million ($16.3 million).

AI development, as well as foreign investment, have been a key focus for France. Microsoft announced €4 billion in investment in cloud and AI infrastructure earlier this month during Macron’s “Choose France” summit.

Mistral, formed in early 2023 by former engineers at Google’s DeepMind and Meta Platforms Inc., has positioned itself as challenging US dominance in AI. 

--With assistance from Ania Nussbaum.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.