[UPDATE 9/02/2023 – 13:41 CET] Microsoft has issued a respone to the CMA's provisional conclusion, and it comes right from the top. The company's CEO, Satya Nadella, called into question how the deal could harm competition. He went on the offensive by saying Sony's dominance of the console market in Japan should be looked at if there are concerns over comeptition:
Rima Alaily, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counse, stresses that the company is working to ease regulator concerns and is confident the deal will go ahead:
“We are committed to offering effective and easily enforceable solutions that address the CMA's concerns. Our commitment to grant long term 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Nintendo, Steam and others preserves the deal's benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market. 75% of respondents to the CMA‘s public consultation agree that this deal is good for competition in UK gaming.
What does 100% mean?
When we say equal, we mean equal. 10 years of parity. On content. On pricing. On features. On quality. On playability.”
[8/02/2023 – 20:21 CET] There have been rumors in recent days that the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concerns over Microsoft's $69bn takeover of Activision Blizzard. While Microsoft remains confident the regulator will approve the deal, the CMA does have concerns and says that the merger “could harm UK gamers.”
Reaching its provisional conclusion following an investigation, the CMA says the Microsoft Activision Blizzard purchase could increase prices, stifle innovation, and limit choices for consumers.
The CMA's report says:
“The evidence available to the CMA, including data on how Microsoft measures the value of customers in the ordinary course of business, currently indicates that Microsoft would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision's games exclusive to its own consoles (or only available on PlayStation under materially worse conditions).”
It seems a regulatory collaboration is underway. There is now more cooperation between regulatory bodies. Whether it is sharing objections and cases to moving towards a unified stance.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently battling Microsoft through the courts to block the merger in the US. At the same time, the European Commission (EC) has given Microsoft a list of concerns amid its investigation.
The CMA says it is especially concerned about how the deal could weaken Sony. Call of Duty is at the heart of the debate between Microsoft, Sony, and regulators. While Activision Blizzard has other major franchises such as Diablo, Candy Crush, and Warcraft, Call of Duty is the big money spinner. So much so that Sony has confessed Call of Duty is irreplaceable on PlayStation.
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