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Updated Jul 2, 2024, 3:22pm EDT
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Semafor Signals

Nvidia could soon find itself in antitrust regulators’ crosshairs for first time

Insights from Bloomberg, The Futurum Group, and Project Syndicate.

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The News

Nvidia could soon face antitrust charges in France, Reuters reported. It would mark the first time a regulator has brought such charges against the US chipmaker, which is one of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the world.

While the exact nature of the potential charges is not clear, they could relate to the company’s highly sought-after graphics cards — last year, French anticompetition inspectors raided Nvidia’s Paris offices citing concerns over the cards. It’s estimated that Nvidia controls about 80% of the market for AI chips.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Nvidia’s success comes with a side of regulatory scrutiny

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Sources:  
Bloomberg, Semafor, The New York Times Dealbook

The bigger Nvidia gets, the more regulators are paying attention to the company. The chipmaker is worth about $3 trillion, and its dominance of the global semiconductor market helped it to become the world’s most valuable company for a short time in June. With success has come scrutiny: the UK and other European countries are believed to be examining Nvidia’s business practices, as is the US. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have eyed an antitrust probe into the chipmaker, alongside other AI giants Microsoft and OpenAI, as the Biden administration makes regulating Big Tech a priority.

Aggressive EU regulation of Big Tech ‘slows innovation’

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Source:  
Daniel Newman, CEO of The Futurum Group

France’s potential antitrust probe is unlikely to curb Nvidia’s meteoric rise — and such probes slow European innovation, argued Daniel Newman, CEO of tech research firm The Futurum Group. The EU’s aggressive regulation of Big Tech has seen it impose large fines on US firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, without notably changing their behavior but hampering their European competitors. “The policy and taxation of companies have long been two key areas that have slowed the development of the most innovative technologies in Europe and has likely set the region back meaningfully, creating a dependence on US tech,” Newman said.

AI likely to fuel Big Tech’s competition abuses

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Sources:  
Bloomberg, Project Syndicate

Competition abuses already rampant in Big Tech will only grow with the rise of AI, Bloomberg reported the top German antitrust official as saying. Andreas Mundt, the head of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, namechecked Nvidia at an annual press conference as he described AI as a “first-class fire accelerator” for anti-competitive behavior that will “make all the problems only worse.” It’s because Big Tech firms have access to the resources to build superior AI tools, a professor of public policy argued in Project Syndicate, a media NGO, making it more likely that they will cement their dominance.

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