Microsoft beats FTC in Activision Blizzard acquisition ruling

Xbox acquired Activision Blizzard on January 18, 2022, and gained the rights to Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and more.

Following a multi-week court case, Microsoft has won its battle with the Federal Trade Commission regarding its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. The ruling is a major win for Microsoft’s troubled deal, clearing the biggest hurdle it faced.

Last January, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. The blockbuster announcement immediately raised antitrust concerns, which resulted in the FTC filing a legal challenge in December 2022. Microsoft has not been able to proceed with the acquisition since then, as its faced similar scrutiny in the U.K.

After a court case filled with revelations about the gaming industry’s inner workings, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled in favor of Microsoft. That decision means that the company can continue its acquisition process, paving the way for it to officially buy the Call of Duty publisher.

The FTC’s case against Microsoft was built around the idea that the deal would ultimately hurt consumers. A good deal of the case revolved around whether or not Microsoft would make franchises like Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox platforms, something Microsoft has repeatedly claimed it would not do. Microsoft was successfully able to convince the court of that fact, as Judge Corley cited the company’s commitment to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years and bring the series to Nintendo platforms.

Following the ruling, Microsoft President Brad Smith put out a statement on Twitter thanking the San Francisco court for the decision. “As we’ve demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns,” it reads.

Microsoft isn’t totally out of the woods yet. The company still needs to win its case in the United Kingdom, where the country’s Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns over cloud gaming.

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