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  • Writer's pictureHank Klint

Microsoft Takes on The FTC

Microsoft is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, with a five-day court case taking place from June 22nd. The outcome of this case will determine the future of Microsoft's planned $68.7 billion deal. The FTC is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Microsoft from finalizing the acquisition before a separate legal challenge scheduled for August 2nd.

Microsoft has until July 18th to successfully conclude the proposed acquisition; otherwise, it will be required to pay Activision Blizzard $3 billion in breakup fees or renegotiate the terms of the deal. Notably, the FTC is not the only regulatory body seeking to impede the acquisition. In April, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decided to block the deal, and Microsoft is currently appealing this decision. The appeal is set to be heard in late July.

To catch up on the proceedings of the FTC v. Microsoft case, let's recap the key events so far. On the first day, testimony was given by Matt Booty, the chief of Xbox Game Studios, and a noteworthy Sony email was presented as evidence. Day two featured extensive testimony from Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, who discussed Microsoft's competition with Sony, the company's interest in acquiring Zynga to bolster its mobile gaming prospects, and the rationale behind Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda following concerns about the exclusivity of Starfield on PlayStation.

Moving on to day three, notable figures such as Jim Ryan, the head of Sony's PlayStation division, an executive from Nvidia, and economic experts representing both the FTC and Microsoft provided testimony. This day shed further light on the aforementioned crucial email, Sony's perspective on Game Pass, and insider information about the contract negotiations between Sony and Microsoft regarding the Call of Duty franchise. You can find a detailed summary of day three here.

Now, we come to day four, which promises to be a pivotal moment in the case. Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision, will take the witness stand in the morning, followed by Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, in the afternoon. Additionally, Jeff Fisher from Nvidia will briefly offer his testimony. As part of their defense strategy, Microsoft will call upon Dr. Dennis Carlton, an economics expert, to challenge the findings presented in the FTC's report.

The outcome of this case will have far-reaching implications for Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. With key testimonies and arguments yet to be presented, the court proceedings continue to attract significant attention, shaping the future of the gaming industry.

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