The courtroom battle has ended and Microsoft emerges victorious. In a high-stakes conflict with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Microsoft has finally been given the green light to complete its acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard. This pivotal decision came from Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, after an intense five-day period of testimonies.
Microsoft’s purchase of Activision has been touted as the most significant in tech history, raising plenty of eyebrows and sparking industry-wide scrutiny. But after careful deliberation, Judge Corley sided with Microsoft. She was convinced by their commitment to keep 'Call of Duty' on PlayStation for a decade, equal to Xbox, and even extend its reach to Nintendo Switch. Judge Corley was also impressed by Microsoft's pledge to introduce Activision's content to several cloud gaming platforms for the first time. This innovative move is set to revolutionize the gaming landscape.
The court's decision has stirred up a cocktail of reactions. Microsoft's President, Brad Smith, expressed his gratitude for the court's swift decision, while Xbox head Phil Spencer celebrated the judgment on Twitter. He argued that the Activision Blizzard deal would energize the industry, contradicting FTC's claims.
And it wasn't just Microsoft heaving a sigh of relief. Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, declared that the merger would drive competition and prevent established market leaders from monopolizing the fast-growing industry.
Not everyone, however, was thrilled by the outcome. The FTC expressed its disappointment, reiterating its belief in the merger's potential threat to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles.
Despite the victory in the courtroom, there are still hurdles to overcome. Microsoft must now work with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to address concerns around the Activision Blizzard deal. However, the suspension of their legal battle in the UK, to negotiate a possible solution, gives room for hope.
European regulators have already given the merger their blessing, meaning Microsoft can technically finalize the deal. But complexities abound, and both Microsoft and the CMA are eager to avoid a sticky situation.
Meanwhile, the FTC has the option to appeal Judge Corley’s decision until July 14th. The possibility of the regulator dropping its case against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard remains, given its history of non-appeals. If FTC decides against appealing, this would mark another significant loss for FTC Chair Lina Khan, who has been pursuing big tech companies since she assumed office in 2021.
All in all, the gaming industry is abuzz with this groundbreaking news. The outcome of this battle could chart a new course for the gaming landscape, and it will be fascinating to watch the story unfold.