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Microsoft Wins Court Case Against FTC To Buy Activision Blizzard

Judge Corley has handed down a decision in the much-discussed case.


Microsoft's bid to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion has cleared another major hurdle, paving the way for the Xbox company to press ahead and complete the deal. In its court case against the FTC, which was seeking an injunction to at least temporarily hold up the deal, Microsoft has emerged victorious.

The FTC will still hold an antitrust trial on the situation beginning on August 2, but US district judge Jaqueline Scott Corley's decision means that the FTC will not receive the temporary injunction to prevent the deal from moving ahead in the meantime. Corley's decision can be appealed, but we don't yet know if the FTC will do so. It has through July 14 to appeal.

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The decision was handed down on July 11, with Corley disagreeing with the FTC's argument. Sony and other opponents of the deal said it was anti-competitive. As of yet, Sony has yet to respond or react to the FTC's decision.

"The FTC has not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets," Corley wrote.

In the UK, the Competition & Markets Authority blocked the deal over concerns about the cloud gaming market. The European Union, meanwhile, ruled that the deal can go through.

It remains to be seen how the FTC's decision might affect things globally. Prior to the FTC giving the OK, Microsoft already had approvals for the deal in 35+ countries.

It has a deadline of July 18 to close the deal and may now look to do so, although the UK's block will still need to be navigated in one way or another. After Corley's decision was announced, Microsoft and the FTC revealed that the former's appeal is being put on hold as the two sides work through possible remedies that could allow the deal to go through.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement that it "hopes other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution," reiterating that the company is "committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns."

Meanwhile, Xbox boss Phil Spencer issued a series of tweets on the subject, saying, "The evidence showed the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry and the FTC’s claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services, and cloud don’t reflect the realities of the gaming market. Since we first announced this deal, our commitment to bringing more games to more people on more devices has only grown. We’ve signed multiple agreements to make Activision Blizzard’s games, Xbox first party games and Game Pass all available to more players than they are today. We know that players around the world have been watching this case closely and I’m proud of our efforts to expand player access and choice throughout this journey."

In a statement shared with GameSpot, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said, "Our merger will benefit consumers and workers. It will enable competition rather than allow entrenched market leaders to continue to dominate our rapidly growing industry."

In the US, the court case saw high-profile testimony from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Kotick, Spencer, and many others. There were a number of notable claims made, including a belief from Microsoft that Sony will launch a PS5 Slim this year for $400.

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