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Microsoft wins against FTC to buy Activision Blizzard

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Well, the results are here. In the USA the FTC was trying to block Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard but Microsoft has won the fight. Now Microsoft are one big step closer to actually properly closing the deal, and a rather big consolidation of the gaming industry given how big Activision Blizzard are.

As per the decision:

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history. It deserves scrutiny. That scrutiny has paid off: 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.

This Court’s responsibility in this case is narrow. It is to decide if, notwithstanding these current circumstances, the merger should be halted—perhaps even terminated—pending resolution of the FTC administrative action. For the reasons explained, the Court finds the FTC has not 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. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED.

This means the temporary restraining order against the acquisition will be removed on July 14th, unless the FTC obtains a "stay pending appeal from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals".

Microsoft still have a fight ahead in the UK though, since the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) blocked the deal but naturally Microsoft is appealing the decision with a hearing set to begin on July 28th. So they're not completely out of the woods yet but it's probable Microsoft will end up winning there too. Update 16:21 UTC - Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President Microsoft, put a statement on Twitter:

After today's court decision in the U.S., our focus now turns back to the UK. While we ultimately disagree with the CMA’s concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA. In order to prioritize work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA that a stay of the litigation in the UK would be in the public interest and the parties have made a joint submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to this effect.

What do you think to this outcome?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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64 comments
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Purple Library Guy Jul 11, 2023
It sucks. More consolidation is bad. I have no fondness for Activision Blizzard, but then I'm not a big fan of Microsoft either and neither of those is the main point. Corporate behemoths are too big; in general they should be getting chopped into smaller pieces, not allowed to stitch together into even gianter Frankenstein leviathans.
Liam Dawe Jul 11, 2023
Updated with new statement about the UK CMA.
ObsidianBlk Jul 11, 2023
Quoting: Purple Library GuyIt sucks. More consolidation is bad. I have no fondness for Activision Blizzard, but then I'm not a big fan of Microsoft either and neither of those is the main point. Corporate behemoths are too big; in general they should be getting chopped into smaller pieces, not allowed to stitch together into even gianter Frankenstein leviathans.

I feel most countries (USA especially) have long ago abandoned even the pretense of fighting against monopolistic behavior. I cannot say how bad this merger will be over time. I fear, in maybe a decade, it will be bad for people not on Windows or XBox... then again, I have a very negative bias against Microsoft and A/B (especially the Activision potion), so take what I said with a grain of salt, I suppose.
Raaben Jul 11, 2023
I can't see the UK staying their ground being the lone opposition now. In a way I guess I am glad I have my huge backlog and emulation to last me years and years to come; I hate the way the gaming industry is going lately. I have no confidence in everything being devoured by corporate entities too big for entire nations to touch.
Raaben Jul 11, 2023
Quoting: ObsidianBlkI fear, in maybe a decade, it will be bad for people not on Windows or XBox

MS knows how to play the long game. Sure, they will give a little and cooperate now, maybe even throw Steam a bone. I can't see them not pulling the rug out as soon as they buy enough of the gaming world to lock it into XBOX. Then go and push UWP again and so long WINE/Proton/Steam Deck (Unless that executable situation isn't as hopeless as everything I've read before).
Pengling Jul 11, 2023
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QuoteWhat do you think to this outcome?
Most concerning. Activision alone was already powerful enough that it could refuse to support the biggest-selling console of the current generation and then just shrug it off later, for example (in the console space, this is something that can harm the outcome for a platform). This isn't going to turn out well.
StalePopcorn Jul 11, 2023
Get your M$ accounts now, bitches—they'll be linked to your SSN and .gov accounts before you know it.
artixbtw Jul 11, 2023
For some reason, the never-ending mergers remind me of the ending of INSIDE.
Grogan Jul 11, 2023
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... sad trombone slide...
Zelox Jul 11, 2023
I really think this is good. Blizzard was dead once activision got their hands on them. And it’s been going worse and worse every year.

Microsoft really have some good games, they seem to release stable and solid games. I also hope this can change the culture in blizzard and bring them back to not just be about money and greed as activision like.

And there is still plenty of competition on the gaming market and I also hope we get to see blizzard games on steam :)
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