The FTC is not making a good case against Microsoft for its acquisition of Activision.
It has gotten even worse.

Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard subsequent to successfully navigating obstacles presented by multiple government agencies globally.
Microsoft may acquire Activision in the near future.

With Sony’s compliance, Microsoft’s $69 billion merger with Activision Blizzard appears virtually certain. A agreement has been reached by Microsoft’s principal competitor and adversary of the acquisition to retain Activision’s Call of Duty on its PlayStation consoles until the merger is finalized. The agreement is substantial evidence that Sony is confident the acquisition will occur.

An antitrust litigation, titled “The FTC’s Case Against Microsoft’s Activision,” was initiated in December 2022 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. According to the FTC, Microsoft would be able to stifle rivals to its Xbox gaming consoles and its swiftly expanding subscription and cloud-gaming businesses through the agreement.

The FTC is primarily concerned with two areas:

Exclusive content: Microsoft would acquire dominion over Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, among other immensely renowned video game franchises. According to the FTC, Microsoft could potentially use this exclusive content to impede the competitiveness of rivals. Microsoft could, for instance, restrict access to these titles to its proprietary platforms or impose additional restrictions on rivals’ ability to obtain them.

Microsoft is an industry leader in cloud gaming, which enables users to stream games without downloading or installing them over the internet. The FTC asserts that Microsoft could impede competition in the cloud gaming market by utilizing its control over Activision Blizzard’s games. As an illustration, Microsoft might implement measures to impede competitors’ access to Activision Blizzard’s games via their respective cloud gaming platforms.

Microsoft counters the FTC’s allegations, asserting that the transaction would enhance consumer value through the expansion of game availability across multiple platforms and reduction in price. Microsoft has further pledged to ensure the continued availability of Activision Blizzard’s games on rival platforms for a specified duration following the conclusion of the agreement.

Current proceedings involve the FTC against Microsoft. The case is slated to undergo an evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge in November 2023. The anticipated duration of the case is several months.

The potential outcome of the FTC’s case is the obstruction of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. An such development would significantly impede Microsoft’s endeavors to grow its gaming division. Equally likely, the FTC will ultimately grant approval for the transaction, conditional or otherwise.