Microsoft challenges FTC's block of $68.7B acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc.: Report
Software giant claims to be third ranked in consoles, behind Sony PlayStation and Nintendo
Microsoft took on the Federal Trade Commission’s objection over the software giant’s plans to acquire video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion by filing a formal challenge in court on Thursday, according to reports.
Microsoft announced in January that it was buying the "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard in a planned $69 billion deal, making it the biggest gaming industry deal in history.
But the deal has raised concerns that it could stifle competition, specifically in terms of major franchises like "Call of Duty," that are currently available on Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console, Sony PlayStation, and PC.
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Sony is concerned that if Microsoft makes hits like "Call of Duty" exclusive to its platform, it will put Sony at a disadvantage.
The FTC also claims the merger would give Microsoft an unfair advantage and violate antitrust laws by suppressing competitors to its gaming console and Xbox Game Pass subscription business.
In a 3-1 vote earlier this month, the FTC agreed to file a complaint against Microsoft to block the deal.
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In Microsoft’s challenge on Thursday, the company downplays the Xbox as being the "third-place manufacturer of gaming consoles" behind Sony and Nintendo, the Associated Press reported, adding that it has nearly no presence in the mobile gaming world.
Microsoft’s filing also shows it is ready to fight the case in court but leaves the possibility of a settlement open.
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"Even with confidence in our case, we remain committed to creative solutions with regulators that will protect competition, consumers, and workers in the tech sector," said Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, in a statement Thursday. "As we’ve learned from our lawsuits in the past, the door never closes on the opportunity to find an agreement that can benefit everyone."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.