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Nvidia’s AI Dominance Faces French Antitrust Scrutiny

Nvidia, the world’s most valuable chipmaker, is under scrutiny by French antitrust regulators for alleged anticompetitive practices, marking the first significant action against Nvidia’s dominance in AI technology.

Nvidia, renowned for its cutting-edge graphics processing units (GPUs), is facing serious allegations from French antitrust authorities for purportedly engaging in anticompetitive practices. This move, reported by Reuters and citing undisclosed sources, follows a raid on Nvidia’s offices last year and could lead to significant repercussions for the tech giant.

The French agency’s forthcoming charge sheet, or statement of objections, would make it the first global entity to formally accuse Nvidia of such practices. Nvidia, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and valued at over $3 trillion, has been at the forefront of the AI boom, with its GPUs being critical for data centers that process vast amounts of data to develop AI models.

Regulatory bodies worldwide, including those in the US, EU, China, and the UK, have been scrutinizing Nvidia’s operations. Nvidia itself has acknowledged this growing regulatory interest due to its dominant market position in AI technologies.

In September, French antitrust officials conducted a raid on an unnamed business in the graphics card sector, which Nvidia later confirmed involved their offices. Since then, the French watchdogs have been interviewing market players to understand Nvidia’s influence on AI processors, its pricing strategies, chip shortages, and their impact on prices.

The potential penalties for violating France’s antitrust laws are severe, potentially reaching up to 10% of a company’s global annual revenue. Historically, the French antitrust agency’s largest fine was €1.24 billion, imposed in 2020, primarily on Apple.

The European Commission has also been informally collecting opinions on Nvidia’s practices, although it has not yet initiated a formal investigation. In November, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire expressed concerns about Nvidia’s overwhelming market share, which he claimed contributes to growing inequalities and hampers fair competition. According to Le Maire, Nvidia controls about 92% of the GPU market.

As the situation unfolds, Nvidia’s market strategies and business practices will continue to be under the microscope, potentially leading to significant regulatory and financial consequences.

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