FTC sues to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision
Microsoft’s deal with Activision has been reviewed by 16 regulators around the world, but the FTC is the first of three key regulators, including in Britain and the European Union, to make a decision on the acquisition. .
Microsoft argued that the deal benefits consumers because Microsoft could make Activision’s vast library of games available to more people across different platforms and as part of a bundled subscription to Xbox Game Pass, its Netflix-like streaming offering, instead of downloading and purchasing each game individually.
But the FTC said customers would be harmed because Microsoft could abuse Activision’s wildly popular games to its advantage, either withholding them from competitors like Sony or exploiting them to gain the upper hand as more games are released online. online by harnessing the power of Microsoft data centers.
The lawsuit follows a final push by Microsoft to assuage concerns from regulators.
In mid-November, Microsoft offered Call of Duty to Sony for 10 years, significantly longer than in a previous offer. On Monday, Microsoft president Brad Smith, who directs its lobbying operations, said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the company was “open to providing the same commitment to other platforms and making it legally enforceable by regulators in the US, UK and Europe”. Union.”
Late Tuesday night, in an announcement intended to appease regulators, Microsoft said it had reached an agreement to bring the Call of Duty franchise to Nintendo’s Switch devices – where the games are currently unavailable – for 10 years if the deal Activision is ending.
Microsoft has also gone on the offensive against Sony, which has emerged in recent months as the main opponent of the deal with Activision. Sony, which makes the popular PlayStation video game console, told UK regulators the acquisition would put crucial games “under Microsoft’s sole control, giving it an unprecedented content advantage”, and that Microsoft had no proposed to make Call of Duty available on Sony’s game. streaming service.
In statements, Microsoft directly goaded its rival, including in a Twitter post from Mr. Smith on Tuesday night after the Nintendo deal was announced.
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