Antitrust probes into Nvidia, Microsoft, and OpenAI about to begin

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have decided to split up their responsibilities in the upcoming antitrust investigations of Nvidia, Microsoft, and OpenAI, according to a recent report from The New York Times.

The report explains that federal regulators are currently finalizing a deal which will allow them to open antitrust probes into “the dominant roles” these companies play in the AI industry. The DOJ will try to determine if American chipmaker Nvidia violated antitrust laws, while the FTC will focus on the behavior of Microsoft and OpenAI.

As the report notes, all three companies had mostly evaded regulatory pressure from the Biden administration until now. That changed as generative AI started making headlines over the past two years, with these three companies at the forefront.

Microsoft tantalized regulators when it invested billions of dollars into OpenAI and reportedly acquired a 49% ownership stake in the company. The Times reports that Microsoft specifically structured this deal to avoid scrutiny from regulators, but having such significant influence over one of the AI industry’s biggest players while also integrating the company’s technology deeply into its own products and services attracted their attention anyway.

As for Nvidia, the chipmaker is the top provider of the GPUs that power many AI devices. Sales have grown exponentially in recent months, and the company’s market cap hit $3 trillion for the first time this week, temporarily pushing it ahead of Apple.

Sources told NYT that industry players are worried about Nvidia locking customers into using its chips with its software and how it distributes those chips to consumers.

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