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French Antitrust Regulator to Charge Nvidia Over Alleged Anti-Competitive Practices

 |  July 1, 2024

 The antitrust regulator in France is poised to charge Nvidia for alleged anti-competitive practices, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. This action marks the first time any regulatory body has targeted Nvidia, the global leader in chips for artificial intelligence and computer graphics, over such allegations.

The charges follow dawn raids in September last year within the graphics card sector, which sources confirm specifically targeted Nvidia. These raids were part of a larger investigation into the cloud computing industry, reported Reuters. The escalating demand for Nvidia’s chips, spurred by the release of the generative AI application ChatGPT, has drawn increased regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic.

Both the French authority and Nvidia declined to comment on the impending charges. In a regulatory filing last year, Nvidia acknowledged that regulators in the European Union, China, and France had requested information on its graphics cards, reported Reuters.

Related: Nvidia Faces Global Regulatory Scrutiny Amid Antitrust Investigations

The French antitrust watchdog, in a report issued last Friday, expressed concerns about potential abuses by chip providers in the generative AI sector. It specifically highlighted the industry’s reliance on Nvidia’s CUDA chip programming software, the only system fully compatible with the GPUs crucial for accelerated computing. Additionally, the report noted unease regarding Nvidia’s recent investments in AI-focused cloud service providers like CoreWeave.

Companies found in violation of French antitrust laws can face fines up to 10% of their global annual revenue. However, they may also offer concessions to avoid penalties.

Meanwhile, regulatory attention on Nvidia is not confined to Europe. The U.S. Department of Justice is leading an investigation into the company, dividing the task of scrutinizing Big Tech with the Federal Trade Commission, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Source: Reuters