Microsoft-Activision acquisition case pre-trial hearing set for Jan. 3  

The pre-trial hearing will see the FTC attempt to block Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to acquire “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard claiming the deal would enable the company to suppress competition in gaming 

January 02, 2023 03:10 pm | Updated 03:10 pm IST

The pre-trial hearing for the Microsoft-Activision case has been set for Jan.3

The pre-trial hearing for the Microsoft-Activision case has been set for Jan.3 | Photo Credit: Reuters

A judge has set Jan.3 for the first pre-trial hearing in the Biden administration’s case against Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to take over Activision Blizzard, the maker of the popular game, “Call of Duty”.

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Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces antitrust law, asked a judge to block the transaction arguing that it would allow Microsoft’s Xbox to get exclusive access to Activision games leaving consoles from Sony and Nintendo without access to popular titles like “Call of Duty”. 

Microsoft has countered by saying that the deal would benefit gamers and gaming companies alike. The tech giant also offered to sign a legally binding consent decree with the FTC to provide “Call of Duty” games to rivals including Sony for a decade. 

In December last year, Microsoft had also struck a 10-year deal with Nintendo to make “Call of Duty” available on its consoles should its $69 billion purchase of game maker Activision Blizzard go through. 

Microsoft made the arguments in a filing aimed at convincing a judge at the FTC to allow the deal to proceed.  

The case is being seen as a sign of the administration under President Biden taking a muscular approach to antitrust enforcement. 

However, antitrust experts say that the FTC faces an uphill battle to convince a judge to block the deal, because of the voluntary concessions offered by Microsoft to allay fears it could dominate the gaming market. 

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