FTC To Seek Injunction Halting Microsoft-Activision Deal, And The Xbox Company Is Happy About It
Microsoft welcomes an injunction because it would move up the legal process.
The latest chapter in the saga of Microsoft's attempt to buy Activision Blizzard has unfolded. CNBC is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission will file an injunction today, June 12, to try to stop the deal from finalizing before its July 18 deadline.
This would be the FTC's latest action against the deal, following the government group's lawsuit against Microsoft at the end of 2022. A spokesperson for Microsoft told CNBC that an injunction would be good because it would help move the process along faster.
That's because the FTC, as part of its original lawsuit that pre-dates a potential injunction, is trying to have its own administrative law judge make a decision on the case. That process isn't scheduled to begin until August. Microsoft believes in its case (of course), so the company wanting the legal process to get going faster makes sense.
"We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court. We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market," Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement.
In the UK, the CMA blocked the merger, and both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are now appealing. The EU, meanwhile, has said the deal can go forward.
The FTC, in its December 2022 complaint, said Activision Blizzard normally releases its games on a variety of devices, but warned "that could change if the deal is allowed to process."
"With control over Activision's blockbuster franchises, Microsoft would have both the means and motive to harm competition by manipulating Activision's pricing, degrading Activision's game quality or player experience on rival consoles and gaming services, changing the terms and timing of access to Activision's content, or withholding content from competitors entirely, resulting in harm to consumers," the FTC said.
For its part, Microsoft has said it will keep Call of Duty on PlayStation if it's allowed to buy Activision Blizzard because the game makes so much money on Sony's console and it would be bad business to remove it. Microsoft has also said it will not degrade game quality for titles released on non-Xbox platforms if its deal is allowed to proceed.
Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.