TIMES.VG

BVI, Caribbeanand International News
TIMES.VG

Microsoft $69bn takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard challenged by US watchdog

Microsoft $69bn takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard challenged by US watchdog

The Federal Trade Commission says the tech giant has a record of hoarding valuable gaming content, but the firm vows to fight the action and expresses "complete confidence" in its case.

A US competition watchdog has moved to block Microsoft's $69bn (£56bn) bid to buy Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard.

The action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) threatens the tech giant's plans to rapidly expand its portfolio of games and catch up with rivals.

Microsoft, which owns the Xbox console and game network platform, said the planned record-breaking deal announced back in January would help it compete with industry leaders Tencent and Sony PlayStation, which have both criticised the takeover.

Without Activision and its variety of games across mobile, consoles and PCs, the company could struggle to attract users to its subscription service for accessing games.

Signing up subscribers has become a priority for big tech firms as traditional growth areas such as ad sales becomes less reliable.

In its complaint, the commission, which enforces competition law, said Microsoft had a record of hoarding valuable gaming content.

It points to Microsoft's previous game acquisitions, especially of well-known developer Bethesda Softworks and its parent company ZeniMax, as an example of where the company is making some upcoming game titles exclusive to Xbox despite assuring European regulators it had no intention to do so.

Holly Vedova, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said: "Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals.

"Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets."

The agency set a hearing before an administrative law judge for August 2023.


Call Of Duty and Candy Crush are among Activision's games

Microsoft boss Brad Smith vowed to fight the move.

He said: "While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court."

US President Joe Biden's administration has taken a more aggressive approach to enforcement of competition laws.

The US Department of Justice recently stopped a $2.2bn (£1.7bn) merger of Penguin Random House, the world's largest book publisher, and smaller US rival Simon & Schuster.

The FTC said it was concerned that Activision's popular games, including World of Warcraft and Diablo, would not continue to be offered on a range of consoles, PCs and mobile devices.

While Microsoft has suggested concessions to address competition concerns, the rapid pace of change in the tech and gaming industries could render those conditions useless over time.

This month, in another move to avert criticism, Microsoft entered into a 10-year commitment to offer Call of Duty, the popular first-person shooter series, to Nintendo platforms.

Microsoft also made the same offer to Sony.

Microsoft owns the Xbox console and game network platform.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told staff on Thursday that he was confident that the deal would go forward.

"The allegation that this deal is anti-competitive doesn't align with the facts, and we believe we'll win this challenge," he said.

He believed the companies' arguments would succeed "despite a regulatory environment focused on ideology and misconceptions about the tech industry".

The deal also faces scrutiny in the UK and Brussels.

An investigation by the UK's Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) was announced in July, and in September the watchdog decided there were enough issues to move the inquiry into a second phase.

In October, the public were invited to give its views on the buyout.

The CMA is working to a deadline of March 2023 to publish its final report.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.VG
Close
0:00
0:00
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
×