Microsoft has emerged victorious in the court case regarding its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, defending its position on competition within the video game industry.
Video Games Chronicle reported that on July 11, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction was unnecessary. The FTC had sought the injunction to allow its in-house court to fully evaluate the impact of the acquisition on consumers.
Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley stated, “Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, described as the largest in tech history, deserves scrutiny. This scrutiny has paid off: Microsoft has made public commitments to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years, ensure parity with Xbox. It has also partnered with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to the Switch and entered agreements to make Activision’s content available on several cloud gaming services.”
Judge Corley further explained, “This Court’s role in this case is limited to determining whether the merger should be halted or possibly terminated pending the resolution of the FIC administrative action. Based on the evidence presented, the Court finds that the FTC has not demonstrated a likelihood of success in its claim that this particular vertical merger in this specific industry will substantially reduce competition. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that consumers will gain greater access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. Therefore, the motion for a preliminary injunction is denied.”
In early 2022, Microsoft announced its intentions to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion (£53.3 billion). With this acquisition, Microsoft would gain ownership of Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, and King, as well as the rights to Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and Candy Crush.
While today’s ruling allows Microsoft to proceed with the acquisition ahead of the July 18 deadline, it still needs to address the concerns of the Competition and Markets Authority in the United Kingdom. According to The Verge, Microsoft is set to present its case to the CMA on July 28. Additionally, the FTC has the option to appeal Judge Corley’s decision before July 14.
The Communications Workers of America, an organization involved in unionization efforts at Activision Blizzard, praised the denial of the injunction and Microsoft’s commitment to labor neutrality within ABK.
Microsoft President Brad Smith expressed gratitude to the San Francisco Court for the swift and thorough ruling and hopes that other jurisdictions will also work towards a timely resolution.
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