Microsoft will have to face Europe to acquire Activision

Microsoft’s ambitious acquisition of Activision-Blizzard continues to be fraught with pitfalls. This time the European Commission threatens.

Microsoft certainly has every problem in the world to achieve its goals, as Bill Gates’ firm has said it wants to buy Activision-Blizzard for $69 billion. An extremely costly and large-scale maneuver that could completely destroy the video game industry (just like Disney’s acquisition of Fox changed the world of cinema). Faced with such an offensive, many barriers were erected and still stand today.

In November 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rejected Microsoft’s takeover bid. In short, the US government thus disapproved of an Activision-Blizzard takeover that would have given the multinational IT company a huge advantage over all of its competitors. Armed with licenses such as World of Warcraft, Diablo, and (and above all) Call of Duty, Microsoft would be a formidable adversary – perhaps too much. The implications of this takeover have worried the UK and the European Union, with whom negotiations appear to be not going well. Today, the European Commission is considering taking action against Microsoft.

you are not ready

heist of the century

At the beginning of 2023, we learned that the British government decided to deepen the investigation into the deal until April next year. Enough time to still stop the marriage of the two companies: if anyone opposes this union, let him speak out now or be silent forever! It’s kind of an idea. Thus, Sony (Microsoft’s most obvious competitor) has recently been joined in its concerns by Google and NVIDIA. The two companies would also not be reassured by this turn of events and thus would provide information to the FTC to thwart Microsoft.

Therefore, more and more balls weigh on the scale compared to the Xbox manufacturer, although some countries (eg Brazil) have already confirmed this operation. Along with American and British procedures, Europe begins to show itself even more hostile. According to Reuters, the European Commission will not be able to reach a satisfactory agreement with Microsoft and may plan to file its objections to the acquisition at the end of the period set by the English investigation and in accordance with its antitrust laws.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: PicturesStart of antitrust operations

Since 1890, antitrust laws have condemned unfair competition in business. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits this practice (Articles 101 and 102). Therefore, it has every right to object to this merger if it considers that it threatens the equilibrium of the market. However (and this is what Microsoft will retain) nothing has been firmly announced yet. Despite all the concerns expressed, the firm probably understands that it will face difficult negotiations, not a real dead end.

The Xbox maker told Reuters: “We continue to work with the European Commission to resolve all of their concerns. Our goal is to bring as many games as possible to as many people as possible, and this deal will enable us to achieve that goal.”

Overwatch: ImageMonopoly vigilantes!

The game is over

So rest assured, as Microsoft is not really pursuing a monetary goal, but is acting out of pure charity for humanity. Therefore, it is likely that once the FTC, CMA and Europe realize the nobility of their cause, everything will be settled immediately. Clearly, Microsoft will have to play very tight. The stakes are high for the multinational corporation, so it will have to come to an agreement with all interested parties and give important guarantees so that in the end the green giant can win.

Thus, the pressure exerted by Europe, as well as other countries, has no concrete impact at the moment (with the possible exception of the stock market, which remains an important weapon to derail the negotiations). Thus, the real verdict and the final verdict will fall around April 11, the date when all countries and major participants in the deal will unanimously confirm (or not confirm) the takeover.

Diablo IV: Pictures“My dream is for everyone to have fun. My goal is everyone’s happiness.”

If Microsoft manages to convince everyone of its very sound intentions by then, Sony may start to get seriously worried. The Xbox maker has so far guaranteed that the Call of Duty license will stay on the PlayStation for at least 10 years (which is a ridiculous amount of time for the entire industry), but still deal a death blow to its rival.

As a reminder, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is the best-selling game in the US (according to NPD) in 2022, ahead of Elden Ring. Now imagine those sales in months for Sony. Yes, a game of Monopoly can go on for a very long time, but at the end there is only one winner left.

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