Two US regulators are reportedly set to launch to investigations into three leading players in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector.

CNBC reported a source familiar with the matter as saying that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are set to open antitrust investigations into Microsoft, OpenAI and Nvidia. They are to investigate their influence on the AI sector.

It comes as the European Commission and the UK’s CMA are still looking into partnerships between large digital market players and generative AI developers and providers that could lead to intrusive and lengthy investigations in their market power.

Image credit: Levart Photographer/Unsplash

Antitrust investigations

According to the CNBC report, the FTC will take the lead on looking into Microsoft and OpenAI, while the DoJ will focus on Nvidia, and the investigations will focus on the companies’ conduct, rather than mergers and acquisitions, according to the source.

The investigations come due to the positions of the three tech players in the AI sector.

Microsoft for example has invested up to $13 billion in ChatGPT owner OpenAI, which allows Redmond to utilise the AI technology for its Copilot chatbot, as well as its Azure cloud service.

Nvidia meanwhile has controls roughly 80 percent of the AI chip market, including the custom AI processors made by Google, Microsoft and Amazon.com. That domination helps Nvidia achieve gross margins between 70 and 80 percent.

That kind of margin has recently helped Nvidia become the second most tech firm in the world (ahead of Apple), after it added $1 trillion to its market value in as little time as three months.

Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang. Image credit: Nvidia

Other players

While OpenAI, Microsoft and Nvidia can be considered as among the leading AI players, there are a number of other tech firms working equally as hard in the AI sector.

These include the likes of Amazon-backed Anthropic, as well as Alphabet’s Google and Meta Platforms.

All of these players are also ramping up their own AI offerings and services.

Earlier this week, a group of current and former OpenAI, Google DeepMind employees published an open letter to warn of the “serious risks” of AI, and the lack of safety oversight in AI industry. The letter called for greater protections for AI whistleblowers.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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