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Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has faced plenty of obstacles, most notably from regulators and Sony. However, the company’s president Brad Smith believes that the deal is still on track to close in 2023.

Speaking on last Thursday’s “Bloomberg Technology,” Smith says he remains confident despite the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suing Microsoft to stop the deal. The regulator believes Microsoft will withhold Activision Blizzard games from other platforms.

Even so, Smith is sure this is just a stumble and that the deal will go ahead as planned:

“We originally said when we announced this in January this year, 2022, that we were looking at it in 2023 and that’s still the way we look at it.”

Microsoft’s original plan was to finalize the deal by June 30th, 2023, the end of the company’s fiscal financial year.

Competition

Elsewhere in the interview, Smith claimed Xbox is a small brand in the console market. Despite selling tens of millions of units, Sony and Nintendo continue to outsell Xbox. Smith says to catch up the company need to develop more first-party titles.

“They [Sony] have 286 exclusive titles, we have 59,” he points out. Additionally, Smith says that the FTC’s decision to try to block the deal is unfair. He insists Microsoft will keep Activision Blizzard games available across platforms:

I don’t think that is appropriate. I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think we should have governments rejecting potential solutions without at least first having a real conversation about them. That’s not a recipe that will advance competition.”

Microsoft has already agreed a licensing deal of 10 years to keep Call of Duty on the Nintendo platform. A similar agreement is said to be available to Sony, but the PlayStation brand is resisting in hopes of stopping the deal outright.

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