French authorities this week raided Nvidia’s offices in the country in apparent effort to scrutinize the company’s growing dominance in the AI chip boom. 

On Wednesday, France’s competition authority disclosed it had carried out an “inspection” of an unnamed tech company. Local press and The Wall Street Journal report the raid targeted Nvidia, and likely involved seizing physical and digital materials, plus employee interviews.

Publicly, France’s competition authority has only said the investigation concerns “anticompetitive practices in the graphics cards sector,” along with the cloud computing market. In June, the regulator published a market study on the IT cloud industry, which found it was unlikely that a new competitor could emerge in the market, citing the influence of today’s existing tech giants.  

Although the study refrains from naming Nvidia, it notes: “Competition authorities will have to monitor that established players do not hinder the development of smaller or new players based on these technologies.”

Nvidia declined to comment on the reported raid. But it’s no secret the company’s chips have fueled the boom in generative AI programs, such as ChatGPT. In its last financial quarter, Nvidia saw its net profit grow 843% year over year on record revenue at $13.5 billion, which exceeded the company’s own projections.  

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Nvidia also dominates with an over 70% share of AI chip sales, according to market research firm Omdia. Hence, French authorities are likely concerned that Nvidia could prioritize its AI chip shipments to larger players over smaller companies. In the meantime, the US government has also intervened and prohibited Nvidia from selling its most powerful AI chips to China. 

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