French law enforcement agents have reportedly raided the offices of global tech company NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) over allegations of anticompetitive practices.
The courts approved the raid following months of investigations into the graphics card sector, according to an official disclosure from the French Competition Authority (FCA). While the raid did not expressly mention NVIDIA, several mainstream news outlets such as Reuters and Wall Street Journal (WSJ) have namechecked the United States-based company in their reports.
The FCA noted in its report that the raid is not a seal of guilt on the company and confirmed that it will proceed with a full investigation.
“Such dawn raids do not pre-suppose the existence of a breach of the law which could be imputed to the company involved in the alleged practices, which only a full investigation into the merits of the case could establish, if appropriate,” said the FCA.
French authorities have been keeping a close eye on the state of competition in the sector, culminating in a June report that expressed grave concerns over the future of the industry. The report did not list NVIDIA but goes on to mention other key players in the cloud computing space, including Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) (AWS), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure, and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Cloud.
In its report, the FCA noted that it would be increasing its enforcement action to “protect competition on various grounds such as abuse of dominant position law, cartel law, abuse of economic dependence and merger control.
NVIDIA currently controls over 80% of the GPU market, computing technology integral to several sectors, including artificial intelligence, digital currency mining, and video rendering. The recent spike in generative AI development has seen the company’s valuation sky-rocket to $1 trillion, dwarfing its rivals Intel and AMD.
Firms looking to dabble into cloud technology or AI will likely have to depend on NVIDIA to supply its hardware. Last week, French-based iLiad Group announced their intention to pivot to AI, revealing a partnership with NVIDIA to build an AI research lab after completing the purchase of a supercomputer from the company.
“Through our collaboration with NVIDIA, we will enable European companies to significantly accelerate their AI innovations and to compete with international players,” iLiad Group’s statement.
A mad dash for NVIDIA’s chips
NVIDIA’s AI chips are in high demand globally, with both nations and enterprises scrambling for hardware to build their own AI products. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have reportedly placed orders running into millions of dollars with the company to create their own generative AI products.
However, the company has been barred by the U.S. government from supplying its hardware to China and an unnamed Middle Eastern nation over national security and human rights violations. Despite the bans, the company’s recent financials show great promise. Still, there are fears that the trade restrictions with China could adversely affect the company in the long term.
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