The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking to block Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard.

An independent agency of the US government, the FTC alleges the $69 billion deal would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – PC Trailer

In a complaint issued December 8, the FTC pointed to Microsoft’s “record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles.” The agency specifically called out Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax, Bethesda’s parent company, and the decision to make some of the studio’s titles exclusive to PC and Xbox. This was done “despite assurances” Microsoft gave to European antitrust authorities that it had “no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles,” calling out Starfield and Redfall specifically.

“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”

Last year, Microsoft revealed “some” of Bethesda’s new titles will be exclusives, but it never stated whether or not the games would eventually come to PlayStation or Switch down the road. And the company never outright said “all games” would be kept off rival systems. This is where the FTC is a bit off.

Microsoft never really “assured” the European Commission Bethesda and other Zenimax titles would not be exclusives. In fact, the statement made to the commission was that future decisions on whether to distribute Zenimax games for other consoles will be “made on a case-by-case basis,” taking into account player demand and sentiment. Factors that will inform Microsoft’s decision-making on future games include both consumer demand and preference, plus the “willingness of third parties to work with Microsoft to launch games for their devices.” That would put the ball in Sony and Nintendo’s court.

Furthermore, when Microsoft announced that Starfield and Redfall will only be released on Xbox and PC, the announcement was in line with statements it made upon the close of the ZeniMax transaction. It also reiterated that “some new titles in the future” will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players, not all titles.

As far as Call of Duty and Blizzard games are concerned, like Bethesda games, Microsoft has said repeatedly it does not plan to make any existing games exclusive to Xbox. This includes the Call of Duty franchise which Microsoft has, again repeatedly, stated will not be kept off PlayStation platforms, and has even offered a deal to bring the series to Switch and keep it on PlayStation for at least 10 years.

As it relates to Call of Duty, the FTC is worried that should the acquisition proceed, with control over Activision’s blockbuster franchises, Microsoft would have “both the means and motive to harm competition.” The commission feels the company will do this by “manipulating pricing, degrading Activision’s game quality or player experience on rival consoles, changing the terms and timing of access to Activision’s content, or withholding content from competitors entirely.”

So, does this mean the deal is dead in the water? Not just yet. The commission only issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated. The issuance of the administrative complaint marks the beginning of a proceeding in which the allegations will be tried in a formal hearing before an administrative law judge.

ftc seeks to block microsoft from acquiring activision blizzard alleging it will suppress competition

In response to the FTC’s planned lawsuit to block the merger, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated that while the commission’s move sounds “alarming,” he believes the deal will close.

“The allegation that this deal is anti-competitive doesn’t align with the facts, and we believe we’ll win this challenge,” Kotick stated. “The competitive landscape is shifting, and, simply put, a combined Microsoft-ABK will be good for players, good for employees, good for competition, and good for the industry.

“We believe these arguments will win despite a regulatory environment focused on ideology and misconceptions about the tech industry.”

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), a Labor Union that represents the communications and information industries, news media, and others, had this to say about the FTC’s lawsuit.

“By moving to file a lawsuit in administrative court to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the Federal Trade Commission has missed an opportunity to demonstrate that it takes the labor impact of mergers seriously.

“Instead, the FTC has once again focused its analysis solely on consumer harms and, in this case, console-market leader Sony’s concerns about increased competition.”

The CWA feels the acquisition would be good for workers currently with Activision Blizzard, as it stated the company is against workers’ organizing efforts to freely and fairly organize a union. When Microsoft announced it was to acquire the company, it agreed to enter into negotiations to show regulators good faith efforts to address monopsony harms, which resulted in a legally binding agreement with CWA.

CWA said that approving the merger with the labor agreement with Microsoft in place will “send a game-changing message to corporate America that workers do indeed have a seat at the table, that their concerns matter, and must be addressed.”

“We believe the FTC’s case is not likely to convince a federal judge, particularly as the European Commission may move to approve the deal, and that workers at Activision Blizzard will finally have the opportunity to improve their wages, benefits and working conditions through their union.”

While Microsoft had hoped to close the deal by the end of its fiscal year in July 2023, the FTC has scheduled a hearing to take place before an administrative law judge for August 2023.

We’ll keep our eyes on the situation as it progresses.

TECH NEWS RELATED

9 Best Ways To Retrieve A Downloaded Movie On Your Laptop

Watching movies online can be a hassle; Especially when there is a lot of buffering. This is one of the biggest reasons for people to download their movies and watch them offline. However, I found this specific query in a forum where people were asking to recover a downloaded movie ...

View more: 9 Best Ways To Retrieve A Downloaded Movie On Your Laptop

How To Snip Screen On Your Laptop?

Taking a screenshot is not a complicated process. All of us are familiar with at least one way to do it. However, there are several ways to capture your screen for a frame. We made this article to show you all the different ways you can grab your screens. If ...

View more: How To Snip Screen On Your Laptop?

How To Connect AirPods To A Laptop?

The Apple AirPods are, undoubtedly, some of the best earpieces available on the electronics market. With three generations of different AirPods models, these sleek, ivory earphones are quite popular. Apart from the appearance and quality, AirPods are known for being versatile. Irrespective of what the host device is, AirPods can ...

View more: How To Connect AirPods To A Laptop?

7 Best Ways To Fix DistributedCOM Error In Windows

If you open the Event Viewer utility often, you may notice a DistributedCOM Error on Windows. Let’s know what this DistributedCOM Error Windows error is, how it’s caused, and how you can fix it. Contents show 1 What Is the DistributedCOM Error Windows 10 and 11? 2 What is the ...

View more: 7 Best Ways To Fix DistributedCOM Error In Windows

12 Easy Fixes For Webcam Not Working In Windows

Cameras are becoming quite common for PCs. We use meetings on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other options. The operating system might not be at fault if your camera isn’t working. You can use the given solutions to solve the Webcam Not Working Windows issue quickly. We have covered ...

View more: 12 Easy Fixes For Webcam Not Working In Windows

Windows 10 Sound Not Working: 18 Quick And Easy Methods

Is  Windows 10 Sound Not Working on your PC? This is a common issue faced by many Windows users.  If you are one among them, you are in the right place. This article gives you 11 solutions to fix the no-sound issues in Windows 10.  Contents show 1 Reasons For ...

View more: Windows 10 Sound Not Working: 18 Quick And Easy Methods

Fix CAA20004 Microsoft Teams Sign in Error

Microsoft Teams have a bundle of excellent and attractive features that provides you with easy communication among friends, even classes and offices were conducted online. There’s a lot going on in MS Teams, for example, you can chat via messages and video calls, and at the same time share files ...

View more: Fix CAA20004 Microsoft Teams Sign in Error

How To Fix This Update Is Not Applicable To Your Computer Error: 11 Quick Fixes

Windows standalone updates packages are useful when your Windows updater is not working or you want to install a certain update manually. However, running these updated packages, sometimes, shows the error message “This update is not applicable to your computer” or “This update is not applicable to your computer”. ...

View more: How To Fix This Update Is Not Applicable To Your Computer Error: 11 Quick Fixes

Windows Dual Boot Menu Not Showing: 6 Easy Ways To Fix

12 Best Fixes: Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

How to customize and publish a Microsoft Bookings page?

Chic-Fil-A’s Training Program Apparently Features a Familiar Fallout Face

Microsoft Teams Status not updating or changing

Don’t Buy a Foldable Until Samsung Brings This Prototype to Life

Windows Encryption Not Working? 6 Best Ways To Fix

How to get Apple Calendar on Windows PC

Windows Update Error 0x80073701: 9 Best Ways To Fix

Best Ways To Fix Slow Internet During VPN On Windows 11

6 Solutions To Fix Wmpnetwk High CPU Usage In Windows

Save Time in Microsoft PowerPoint by Making Your Own Theme

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News