In a significant win for Microsoft, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has declined to halt the tech giant’s imminent $69 billion acquisition of video game company Activision Blizzard. This decision comes despite regulatory efforts to scrap the deal over concerns about potential harm to competition.
Judge Corley Refutes Claims of Anticompetitive Outcomes
In her ruling, Judge Corley recognized that the merger necessitated thorough scrutiny, given its potential to be the largest deal ever in the tech industry. However, she stated that federal regulators failed to demonstrate substantial evidence of harm that would likely result from the merger.
Microsoft’s Success in Defending Its Stance in Court
The Federal Trade Commission’s assertion that the proposed merger could “substantially lessen competition” in the realm of video game consoles, monthly game subscriptions, or cloud-based gaming did not stand up to scrutiny. Judge Corley concluded that the commission hadn’t raised serious questions regarding these claims.
Commitments from Key Executives Ensure Continued Game Accessibility
The outcome of the 5-day court hearing in San Francisco, which saw testimony from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and long-serving Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, did not surprise many, as Microsoft’s legal team held the advantage. Both Nadella and Kotick assured the court that Activision’s blockbuster game Call of Duty would remain available to players on competing consoles, notably Sony’s PlayStation, despite Microsoft’s ownership of Xbox.