Uh oh.

Wake Up Call

French authorities just paid an early morning visit to the offices of Nvidia, one of the world's foremost computer chip manufacturers and a red-hot player in the AI arms race.

On Wednesday, the French Competition Authority (FCA) announced that it had raided a company in the "graphics cards sector," but did not specify which one. Since then, multiple outlets have confirmed that the target was Nvidia.

The FCA says it had authorization from a judge for the raid, conducted as part of an inquiry into anti-competitive practices by the chipmaker.

In this regard, Nvidia is not alone. The European Union has been playing hardball with big tech corporations, preparing to enact sweeping regulation to keep the influence of the industry in check.

In June, the FCA released a report on its probe into the cloud computing industry, investigating whether potential monopolism by companies including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft could be affecting competition in other industries that depend on their services, namely cloud gaming and AI.

While the Wall Street Journal notes that Nvidia wasn't specifically named in the FCA report, the fact that it has enormous pull in both sectors would make it a prime suspect.

Big Leagues

What will come of the raid is unknown. But in a way, the fact Nvidia's been targeted by regulators may as well be a rite of passage confirming its status as an industry titan.

Longtime kingpin of the graphics processing unit (GPU) market, Nvidia has in the past year exploded into one of the most valuable corporations in the world.

Few metrics better illustrate this than its stupendous trillion dollar valuation, a threshold surpassed only by some of the biggest names in tech, like Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

The thrust of its recent success is the boom in generative AI, helped along by cryptocurrency mining. When it became clear that its GPUs are the best at servicing enormously intensive AI models like ChatGPT, every name in tech was suddenly paying upwards of $10,000 a pop for Nvidia's advanced chips, which have become so in-demand that manufacturing can't keep up.

Success that ludicrous usually doesn't come without breaking a few eggs. But for now, the FCA would like to remind you that Nvidia isn't technically guilty of anything, yet.

"Raids do not presuppose the existence of a breach of the law, which only a full investigation into the merits of the case could establish, if appropriate," it stated on its website.

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