Nvidia’s French offices raided in cloud-computing competition inquiry -WSJ

By Max A. Cherney

(Reuters) -France’s competition authority raided Nvidia’s local offices this week on suspicion the chipmaker engaged in anticompetitive practices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The French competition authority, which disclosed the dawn raid on Wednesday, did not say what practices it was investigating or which company it had targeted, beyond saying it was in the “graphics cards sector.”

The French competition authority said that its operation this week followed a broader inquiry into the cloud-computing sector. The broader inquiry revolves around concerns that cloud-computing companies could use their access to computing power to exclude smaller competitors.

This week’s operation had targeted Nvidia, which is the world’s largest maker of chips used both for artificial intelligence and for computer graphics, the WSJ report added, citing people familiar with the raid. Chips originally made for computer graphics are suited for AI-related computing.

Nvidia declined to comment, while the French competition authority did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Demand for Nvidia’s chips surged in following the release of the generative AI application ChatGPT late last year. Through a combination of its chips and other hardware and its powerful software that runs them, Nvidia has achieved market share of around 80%.

French authorities have taken an aggressive approach against Big Tech in recent months. In September, France suspended sales of Apple’s iPhone 12 and threatened a recall after it said it found the phone emitted radiation levels exceeding a limit. The move prompted Apple to release a software update for the French market.

Nvidia shares were up 1.4% at $430.65 late on Thursday afternoon.

(Reporting by Samrhitha Arunasalam in Bengaluru and Max A. Cherney in San FranciscoEditing by Shweta Agarwal and Matthew Lewis)