Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Under Fire Again as FTC Files to Unwind Merger

The FTC isn't giving up on its fight against Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard, this time around appealing to a federal court.

Posted By | On 08th, Dec. 2023

Xbox Activision Blizzard

A couple of months after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the United States Federal Trade Commission has approached a federal appeals court this week to unwind the deal. According to CNN, the FTC has argued that district judge Jacqueline Scott Corley went too far with her ruling allowing the acquisition.

Following the FTC’s previous lawsuits to block the acquisition, the governing body has now approached the federal court to try and undo it. Since the FTC’s arguments against the acquisition revolved around anti-trust issues that could pop up as a result of Microsoft controlling the massive Call of Duty franchise, the company offered agreements to its competitors in order to allow the acquisition to go through.

The FTC’s argument once again points out that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could give the company a monopoly when it comes to offering services like subscriptions, like PC and Xbox Game Pass.

“I fail to understand how giving somebody a monopoly of something would be pro-competitive,” said FTC attorney Imad Dean Abyad, an FTC attorney to the appeals court. “It may be a benefit to some class of consumers, but that is very different than saying it is pro-competitive.”

Microsoft’s attorney, Rakesh Kilaru, argued that previous rulings by governing bodies approved the acquisition based on “clear factual findings”.

“It is not a violation of the antitrust laws to give consumers something new, that’s beneficial,” Kilaru said, “unless they present some evidence of it, which they didn’t do.”

Abyad goes on to state that a big reason for the acquisition being allowed was thanks to the contracts Microsoft offered to companies like Nvidia and Nintendo, which came into play only after the FTC filed its complaints. Abyad states that this mean that the “facts were changing all along”.

“What the district court relied on, mostly, are contracts that were entered into after the [FTC] complaint was filed,” Abyad said. “The facts were changing all along. Even after the district court decided the case, Microsoft went ahead and entered into yet another contract [to restructure the cloud licensing rights].”

While the acquisition seems to be going strong for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, Phil Spencer stated back in October that we shouldn’t expect to see the latter’s games on Game Pass any time soon. Spencer stated that adding titles to the subscription service tends to be a long process, and that we likely won’t see the games become available on Game Pass before 2024.


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