FTC likely to file antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft-Activision deal

FTC likely to file antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft-Activision deal

US government agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is expected to challenge tech giant Micorosft’s $69 billion acquisition of game maker Activision Blizzard, known for popular games like Call of Duty and Candy Crush, according to sources in the know.

FTC will likely file an antitrust lawsuit, which will be its biggest move under the new Chair Lina Khan, and a major blow to Microsoft’s reputation after having gone through arduous regulatory antitrust battles over two decades ago.

Although the lawsuit is not certain, with four FTC commissioners yet to vote out a complaint or meet with the lawyers for the firms, the staff reviewing the deal are unconvinced by the two’s arguments.

Sources said that a major part of the investigation has been completed, such as depositions of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision.

A major concern for FTC is whether the acquisition will give the tech giant an unfair advantage in the video game market. At present, Microsoft’s Xbox holds the third position behind its rival Sony’s PlayStation, which is also a primary opponent of the deal.

Sony told FTC, as well as other regulators across the globe, that if Microsoft made Activision’s games exclusive to its own platform, the Japanese firm would be hugely disadvantaged.

Last month, Sony stated that the deal would not only hurt the company’s ability to compete against Microsoft, but also give consumers lesser choices in gaming and leave developers with limited options while choosing a platform to publish their games.

However, Microsoft accused Sony of making self-serving statements to maintain its top position in the market.

The American firm claimed that it had time and again promised to keep Call of Duty available on PlayStation, and that adding it to its Xbox service would not harm Sony in the future. It also offered Sony a deal to have access to the game for the next ten years.

However, FTC’s concerns are beyond the shooter video game, with investigators trying to determine how Microsoft can use Activision’s upcoming and unannounced game titles to boost its business, according to sources.

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Meghna Singh

An English Literature graduate, Meghna Singh ventured into the profession of content development to incorporate her knack for writing articles across verticals including technology, healthcare, business, and alike for News Origins and Newsorigins. She has also completed her MBA in Tourism and worked as a content creator in the field of product development.