DOJ, FTC set to open antitrust probe into Microsoft, Nvidia and OpenAI: Reports

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

The DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigations, first reported Wednesday by The New York Times, have already sent subpoenas to some of the companies as the probes get underway.

The DOJ will lead an investigation into 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. The moves are the most significant regulatory action in the artificial intelligence industry, as calls for regulation grow louder.

The Microsoft probe will focus on how the company structured a recent contract with startup Inflection AI, which included hiring its founder, much of its staff and licensing its technology, The Wall Street Journal reported. Regulators believe the deal may have been structured to avoid rules around acquisitions.

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

“Our agreements with Inflection gave us the opportunity to recruit individuals at Inflection AI and build a team capable of accelerating Microsoft Copilot, while enabling Inflection to continue pursuing its independent business and ambition 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 complied with those obligations.”

The Biden administration has also pushed for greater regulation of the AI industry, wary that top tech companies could quickly gain a stranglehold over the developing technology.

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

FTC Chair Lina Khan said at the time that the agency would scrutinize deals that “enable dominant firms to exert undue influence or gain privileged access in ways that could undermine fair competition.”

Nvidia’s investigation will focus on its chip manufacturing and distribution deals. The company’s stock is one of the fastest growing on the market, and its stock has more than quadrupled in price in 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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