DOJ and FTC Launch Antitrust Investigation into Microsoft, Nvidia and OpenAI: Reports

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal regulators will launch an antitrust investigation into Microsoft, Nvidia and OpenAI over their roles in the rapidly growing artificial intelligence (AI) industry, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigations, first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday, have already issued subpoenas to some companies as they begin their investigations.

The Justice Department will investigate Nvidia, while the FTC will look into OpenAI and Microsoft. Microsoft is OpenAI’s largest investor and has made other significant efforts in the industry. These moves are the most important regulatory action in the AI ​​industry as calls for regulation grow louder.

Microsoft’s investigation will focus on the structure of the company’s recent deal with the startup Inflection AI, which included hiring the founder, a large part of the staff and licensing the technology, according to The Wall Street Journal. Regulators believe the deal may have been structured to avoid takeover regulations.

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Hill that the company is confident it has complied with all regulations.

“Our agreements with Inflection have given us the opportunity to recruit people at Inflection AI and build a team capable of accelerating Microsoft Copilot, while enabling Inflection to continue to pursue its independent operations and ambitions as an AI studio,” the spokesperson said. “We take our legal obligations to report transactions under the HSR Act seriously and are confident that we have met those obligations.”

The Biden administration has also pushed for greater regulation of the artificial intelligence industry, fearing that leading technology companies could quickly gain control over the emerging technology.

The FTC already launched a similar investigation in January into Microsoft, Amazon and Google’s investments in OpenAI and AI startup Anthropic.

FTC Chair Lina Khan said at the time that the agency would review transactions that “enable dominant companies to exercise undue influence or obtain privileged access in a manner that could undermine fair competition.”

Nvidia’s investigation will focus on chip manufacturing and distribution agreements. The company’s shares are among the fastest growing on the market, and their price has more than quadrupled over the last year.

The Hill has reached out to Inflection AI for comment.

The FTC and DOJ declined to comment.

Julia Shapero contributed.

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