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U.S. Regulators Launch Antitrust Investigations Into Microsoft, OpenAI, And Nvidia


The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have reached an agreement allowing them to conduct antitrust investigations into the roles of Microsoft, OpenAI, and Nvidia in the artificial intelligence sector, according to a source familiar with the matter. The agreement designates the U.S. Department of Justice to lead the investigation into Nvidia’s potential antitrust violations, while the FTC will focus on the conduct of OpenAI and Microsoft. Despite OpenAI’s parent being a nonprofit, Microsoft has invested $13 billion in its for-profit subsidiary, aiming for a 49% stake. The regulators finalized this agreement over the past week, with completion expected in the coming days.

This move to allocate industry oversight mirrors a 2019 agreement between the two agencies to split enforcement responsibilities against Big Tech. That arrangement led the FTC to bring cases against Meta and Amazon, while the DOJ sued Apple and Google for alleged violations. These cases are still ongoing, with the companies denying any wrongdoing. The current agreement highlights increasing regulatory scrutiny amid concerns about market concentration in AI-related industries.

Nvidia holds approximately 80% of the AI chip market, including custom AI processors used by cloud computing companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.com, enabling the company to report gross margins between 70% and 80%. A spokesperson for Nvidia declined to comment on the regulators’ agreement. OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The FTC is also investigating Microsoft’s $650 million deal with AI startup Inflection AI, concerned it might be an attempt to circumvent merger disclosure requirements. The deal, struck in March, allowed Microsoft to use Inflection’s models and hire most of the startup’s staff, including its co-founders. Microsoft stated on Monday that this agreement helped accelerate work on Microsoft Copilot while allowing Inflection to continue its independent business as an AI studio. The company asserts it has complied with legal obligations to report transactions.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the probe, while the New York Times reported the regulators’ agreement. This agreement follows the FTC’s January order for OpenAI, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Anthropic to provide information on recent investments and partnerships involving generative AI companies and cloud service providers. Additionally, the FTC launched an investigation into OpenAI last July for allegedly violating consumer protection laws by risking personal reputations and data.

Last week, U.S. antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter highlighted concerns about AI’s reliance on vast amounts of data and computing power, which can advantage dominant firms, at an AI conference.

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