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Microsoft Wins FTC Battle: $68.7 Billion Activision-Blizzard Deal Goes Through

Microsoft Wins FTC Battle: $68.7 Billion Activision-Blizzard Deal Goes Through
Jul 13, 2023

Microsoft has come out victorious in its federal court battle with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the FTC requested a preliminary injunction that blocked Microsoft's acquisition of Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Diablo developer Activision-Blizzard.

The Activision-Blizzard acquisition is a big deal, with Microsoft forking over $68.7 billion USD (just over $100 billion AUD) which makes it the biggest deal in the history of the gaming industry. There was a deadline of July 18  for Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley from the Northern District of California, but the Judge allowed expedited proceedings and in the end, Microsoft won its court battle with the FTC. 

Judge Corley said: "After considering the parties’ voluminous pre-and-post hearing writing submissions, and having held a five-day evidentiary hearing, the Court DENIES the motion for preliminary injunction. The FTC has not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets".

Not only that, but the Judge also added that Microsoft's massive Activision-Blizzard acquisition was "pro-consumer" in terms of access to Activision content, including Call of Duty. She continued: "The FTC hasn't shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition. To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. [...] Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox. It made an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Switch. And it entered several agreements to, for the first time, bring Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services".

"The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED".

You can read through the gigantic 53-page-long document here.

Microsoft's Head of Xbox Phil Spencer tweeted: We're grateful to the court for swiftly deciding in our favor. The evidence showed the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry and the FTC's claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services, and cloud don't reflect the realities of the gaming market".

He continued: "Since we first announced this deal, our commitment to bringing more games to more people on more devices has only grown. We've signed multiple agreements to make Activision Blizzard's games, Xbox first party games and Game Pass all available to more players than they are today. We know that players around the world have been watching this case closely and I’m proud of our efforts to expand player access and choice throughout this journey".

Microsoft Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith, tweeted: "We're grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution. As we've demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns".