US prepares for antitrust clash with AI heavyweights Nvidia, OpenAI and Microsoft

Top antitrust regulators in the United States are stepping up their scrutiny of the country’s most powerful artificial intelligence developers.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have launched and distributed investigations into Nvidia (NVDA), Microsoft (MSFT) and OpenAIaccording to information from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The DOJ will investigate Nvidia’s (NVDA) dominance of the market for microprocessors that power AI, according to the Times. The FTC is reportedly conducting antitrust investigations into Microsoft and OpenAI.

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, left, and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter participate in a discussion on antitrust reforms last October in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Drew Angerer via Getty Images)

The new scrutiny is part of a broad effort by the Biden administration to curb what it sees as anticompetitive behavior in a number of sectors, from health care to groceries to technology.

The administration has previously alleged anticompetitive behavior against tech giants Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), and claimed that Microsoft’s acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard would create a monopoly in the gaming market. games.

There was also a case filed by the Trump administration regarding Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) search dominance. A judge is currently evaluating the evidence in the case, with a decision expected this year.

The efforts have not always been successful. The FTC failed in its challenge against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and failed in a separate battle to prevent Meta (META) from being able to buy the company VR Within.

The FTC made clear last year that it wanted to take a closer look at the growing field of AI.

He said last July that he had launched a investigation based on consumer protection into OpenAI’s data collection practices and the potential harm caused by the release of its Large Language Models (LLM).

Then, in January, she launched a broader investigation into deals between big tech and AI developers, including Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI and Alphabet’s relationship with its developer rival of AI. Anthropic.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC’s investigation into Microsoft extends beyond a review of the tech giant’s conduct to include a deal with an AI developer Inflection AI.

According to the Journal, the FTC wants to know why Microsoft chose to pay Inflection a $650 million licensing fee to resell Inflection’s technology, rather than buying it. The regulator’s interest was piqued, according to the report, by the fact that Microsoft also acquired most of Inflection’s employees as part of the deal.

In response to the report, Microsoft’s spokesperson said the deals with Inflection gave it the opportunity to recruit Inflection AI staff and accelerate the development of its AI chat interface. Microsoft Copilot.

This structure, Microsoft said, allows Inflection to…

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