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Microsoft and Activision Blizzard CEOs Address Antitrust Concerns Over $69 Billion Merger

The Federal Trade Commission has asked a judge to stop the proposed acquisition

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED STATES: The leaders of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard appeared before a judge on Wednesday to address antitrust concerns surrounding their proposed $69 billion merger. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reassured regulators that making Activision games exclusive to the Xbox would be illogical from a strategic standpoint.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has expressed worries that the acquisition would give Microsoft exclusive access to popular titles like “Call of Duty,” leaving competitors Nintendo and Sony Group at a disadvantage.

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During his testimony, Nadella emphasized Microsoft’s belief in software accessibility across multiple platforms, stating that restricting games to the Xbox would make no economic or strategic sense. 

To alleviate the FTC’s concerns, Microsoft has agreed to license “Call of Duty” to rival platforms and argued that, financially, licensing the games to all comers is more beneficial.

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The FTC has requested a temporary halt to the merger to allow its in-house judge to review the case. 

In order to safeguard consumers from potential harm from powerful corporations, the agency has adopted a stricter approach to mergers during the Biden administration.

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The trial has centred mainly around Activision’s blockbuster game, “Call of Duty,” one of the best-selling video games ever. 

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick testified that restricting the game to Microsoft platforms would alienate its 100 million monthly active users and negatively impact its popularity. 

Kotick stressed the importance of offering the game across multiple platforms, including consoles, mobile phones, and personal computers.

Kotick argued that Microsoft has no incentive to limit the availability of Activision’s games if the two companies finalise the merger. For example, removing “Call of Duty” from Sony’s PlayStation would be detrimental to Activision’s business. 

He also acknowledged that the deal would value his shares at over $400 million, expressing his strong desire for the merger to proceed.

While the merger has received approval from many jurisdictions, the FTC in the United States and Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority have opposed it. 

The outcome of the trial and the decision of Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco will have significant implications for the gaming industry and the future availability of popular titles on various platforms.

Also Read: Quantum Leap: Microsoft Unveils Roadmap for Building a Revolutionary Supercomputer


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