The acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft seems to go wrong as the weeks go by. Just after the Redmond giant extended its proposed agreement to share Call of Duty with PlayStation to ten years, we learned that the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering filing an antitrust lawsuit to block the operation agreed between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard.
That Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard purchase agreement left Sony very touched is no secret and what’s more, since then, and quite possibly, the company of Japanese origin has maneuvered to try to prevent the operation from being consummated. On the other hand, the takeover of one giant by another giant is quite a temptation for antitrust agencies to get down to business, which has happened in this case.
The antitrust lawsuit against the Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard deal isn’t guaranteed, but the FTC appears to have done most of the research that included statements from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CEO Bobby Kotick. from Activision-Blizzard. If it sees fit, the commission would present the lawsuit next month before its own internal administrative court. Since the door is still open, too it is likely that the FTC will end up giving the go-ahead to the operationbut while that arrives, it is frozen and will not be completed until next year.
The possibility of the FTC filing an antitrust lawsuit adds to the grim Phase 1 report from the CMA, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which concluded at the time that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard may result in “in a substantial decrease in competition within one or more markets in the United Kingdom.” If we take into account that the CMA was once the spearhead to knock down the purchase of ARM by NVIDIA, it is logical to think that right now there are dark clouds over the agreement reached by Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard.
Microsoft has already responded to the CMA that its agreement with Activision-Blizzard will not harm the competitionbut the reality is that, seeing the reaction in the stock markets, few think that is true, and if not, the Redmond giant would not be trying to extend the agreement to share Call of Duty with PlayStation.
As we have already said, it is best to remain prudent, but it is clear that things have been getting increasingly ugly for Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard. If the FTC decides to file the lawsuit, it looks like the two companies are going to have to present some very good arguments and facts to get away with it.