According to the Wall Street Journal, France’s competition authority conducted a raid on NVIDIA’s offices in the country earlier this week. The agency itself revealed it raided “a company suspected of having implemented anticompetitive practices in the graphics cards sector.”
While the agency was vague on which specific company, sources speaking to the Journal confirmed NVIDIA was the target. The raid was reportedly incited by a larger inquiry into cloud technology from June, and worriesthat larger companies (like Microsoft) could use their computing power to shut out smaller companies.
NVIDIA chips and cloud computing
Cloud companies use NVIDIA chips by the tens of thousands for their data centers stationed around the United States (if not the whole world). The Journal notes that NVIDIA’s growth from a graphics card company to a “computational workhorse behind the AI boom”is cause for concern.
During summer 2022, NVIDIA chips were in extremely high demand (and eventually faced a shortage)as the AI and cryptocurrency booms were both taking off. Earlier this week, the company secured two deals for a pair of France-based companies to expand their respective offerings of NVIDIA’s H100 AI chips.
In its June report, the competition authority claimedincreased use of AI”will drive growth in demand for cloud services.Competition authorities will have to monitor that established players do not hinder the development of smaller or new players based on these technologies.”
Questions about NVIDIA becoming a monopoly have been previously raised. Last year, PC component maker EVGA alleged NVIDIA intentionally withheld information about its high-end graphics cards. Because it had to sell its own graphics cards at a loss of “hundreds of dollars,”EVGA said it was leaving the graphics card business.