Surprised deal! The UK launches Microsoft Activision Blizzard
UK officials launched a deeper antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s $68.7 billion purchase of video game giant Activision Blizzard, reflecting concerns about a deal that reduces competition. On 1st September, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority on the second-stage probe had an acquisition, making Microsoft the world's third-largest video game publisher. It posed a risk to markets, including console and cloud gaming.
Microsoft’s anticipated purchase of Activision Blizzard could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscriptions, and cloud game services. A Phase 2 investigation will see an independent panel examine Microsoft’s deal control over games like Call of duty and World of Warcraft will harm rivals. Phil Spencer, Microsoft gaming CEO and head of Xbox, spelled out Microsoft's position.
A detailed plan of Microsoft
Spencer likens Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal to the company's $2.5 billion acquisition of Minecraft. The FTC, CMA, and the European Commission are still analyzing Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal. Last month, Saudi Arabia became the first country to approve the acquisition. The UK expressed concerns that the acquisition could allow Microsoft to restrict the valuable content from other gaming platforms, particularly Sony's PlayStation.
The company said, ‘We are ready to work with the CMA on the next steps and address any of its concerns; we want people to have more access to the game, not less.'
In February, the company launched a charm offensive with regulators worldwide, announcing several commitments, including a promise not to give preferential treatment to content on its platform. The CMA gave Microsoft several days to its preliminary finding with proposed solutions. On 6th September, Microsoft made an offer, the CMA setting the stage for a phase-two investigation.