Microsoft has seemingly won its court battle against the FTC and the deal with Activision seemingly has permission to go through.
In a court decision in Microsoft against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has ruled in favor of Microsoft.
Judge Corely went as far as to say that not only is there no evidence that the deal would “substantially lessen competition”, but the scrutiny of the deal has broadened competition after Microsoft committed to “parity” with Sony and Nintendo with the Call of Duty franchise.
You can read Judge Corely’s statement below via The Verge:
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history. It deserves scrutiny. That scrutiny has paid off: Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox. It made an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Switch. And it entered several agreements to for the first time bring Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services. This Court’s responsibility in this case is narrow. It is to decide if, notwithstanding these current circumstances, the merger should be halted—perhaps even terminated—pending resolution of the FTC administrative action. For the reasons explained, the Court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition. To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED.
Though things might seemingly be done, the FTC has spoken out and implies they may seek other avenues to deny the merger.
FTC Spokesperson Douglas Farrar has said: “We are disappointed in this outcome given the clear threat this merger poses to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles. In the coming days we’ll be announcing our next step to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers.”
While the deal may be able to go through in the US and in most other territories, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) remains the one holdout on the deal. Microsoft and Activision could hypothetically, make the deal without the UK’s approval.