US Regulators Launch Antitrust Investigations into Microsoft, OpenAI, and Nvidia

US antitrust investigation, Microsoft, OpenAI, Nvidia, AI industry regulation, DOJ, FTC, artificial intelligence, market dominance, AI chip market, Inflection AI deal, AI compliance, regulatory scrutiny

“Explore the latest antitrust investigations launched by the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission into Microsoft, OpenAI, and Nvidia. Learn about the concerns over market dominance in the AI industry and how these investigations could shape the future of AI regulation.”

US Regulators to Open AI
US Regulators to Open AI

In a significant development that underscores the growing regulatory scrutiny of the artificial intelligence (AI) sector, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have reached an agreement to launch antitrust investigations into Microsoft, OpenAI, and Nvidia. According to a source familiar with the matter, this coordinated effort aims to address concerns about the dominant roles these companies play in the burgeoning AI industry.

The Division of Labor: DOJ and FTC Roles

Under this agreement, the DOJ will lead the investigation into Nvidia, focusing on potential antitrust violations. Meanwhile, the FTC will handle inquiries into OpenAI and Microsoft. This division of labor is reminiscent of a similar arrangement made in 2019 when the two agencies split the responsibility for overseeing enforcement actions against major tech companies. At that time, the FTC targeted Meta and Amazon, while the DOJ pursued cases against Apple and Google. These cases are still ongoing, with the companies denying any wrongdoing.

Nvidia’s Market Dominance

Nvidia’s dominance in the AI chip market is a central concern for regulators. The company controls approximately 80% of the AI chip market, including the custom AI processors used by cloud computing giants like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. This market share enables Nvidia to report impressive gross margins, ranging from 70% to 80%. Such dominance in a critical component of AI infrastructure has raised alarms about potential anti-competitive practices.

Microsoft and OpenAI Under the Microscope

The FTC’s focus on Microsoft and OpenAI stems from their significant investments and partnerships in the AI space. Microsoft has invested a staggering $13 billion in OpenAI, acquiring a 49% stake in a for-profit subsidiary of the nonprofit organization. This substantial investment has led to questions about Microsoft’s influence over OpenAI’s operations and strategic decisions.

Additionally, the FTC is scrutinizing Microsoft’s $650 million deal with AI startup Inflection AI. There are concerns that this transaction might have been structured to bypass merger disclosure requirements. The deal, finalized in March, allowed Microsoft to utilize Inflection’s models and hire most of the startup’s staff, including its co-founders. Microsoft maintains that this agreement was designed to accelerate its work on Microsoft Copilot while enabling Inflection to continue operating independently as an AI studio.

Broader Implications for the AI Industry

The heightened regulatory scrutiny reflects broader concerns about the concentration of power within the AI industry. AI technology relies heavily on vast amounts of data and substantial computing power, which tend to favor already dominant firms. This issue was highlighted by U.S. antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter, who recently remarked on the “structures and trends in AI that should give us pause” at an AI conference. He emphasized that the significant advantages enjoyed by dominant firms could stifle competition and innovation in the industry.

Previous and Ongoing Investigations

This is not the first time OpenAI and Microsoft have faced regulatory attention. In January, the FTC ordered OpenAI, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Anthropic to provide detailed information on their recent investments and partnerships involving generative AI companies and cloud service providers. The aim was to assess the competitive dynamics and potential anti-competitive practices in the AI sector.

Furthermore, the FTC opened an investigation into OpenAI in July of the previous year. The inquiry focused on claims that OpenAI had violated consumer protection laws by risking personal reputations and data through its AI applications. These ongoing investigations underscore the regulatory bodies’ commitment to ensuring that AI development and deployment adhere to legal and ethical standards.

Industry Reactions

Reactions from the companies involved have been mixed. A spokesperson for Nvidia declined to comment on the regulatory agreement. OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comments on Thursday. Microsoft, on the other hand, issued a statement defending its agreement with Inflection AI. The company asserted that the deal was intended to accelerate its AI initiatives while allowing Inflection to pursue its independent goals. Microsoft emphasized its commitment to legal compliance and confidence in meeting reporting obligations.


The antitrust investigations into Microsoft, OpenAI, and Nvidia mark a pivotal moment in the regulation of the AI industry. As AI continues to evolve and integrate into various aspects of technology and society, ensuring fair competition and preventing monopolistic practices are critical. The DOJ and FTC’s coordinated efforts reflect the growing recognition of the need for robust regulatory oversight in the AI sector. These investigations will likely shape the future landscape of AI development and deployment, influencing how companies navigate the complex intersection of innovation, competition, and regulatory compliance.

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