Microsoft Urges Appeals Court to Reject FTC’s Request to Pause $69 Billion Activision Deal

Microsoft Urges Appeals Court to Reject FTC’s Request to Pause Activision Deal

Washington – Microsoft has strongly urged an appeals court to deny the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request to temporarily halt its $69 billion acquisition of Activision. The agency had asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to delay the transaction while it considered their broader appeal. In response, Microsoft argued that the FTC had been slow in filing its case and questioned the need for a delay at this stage. Microsoft called the FTC’s request a “litigation gamesmanship” and stated that it does not merit an emergency deviation from the ordinary appellate process.

The crux of the dispute lies in the FTC’s concerns that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision would give the tech giant an incentive to withhold popular games, such as “Call of Duty,” from rival gaming consoles like Sony’s PlayStation, thus harming competition and gamers. The FTC argued that the deal would allow Microsoft to monopolize the market and undermine fair competition. However, Microsoft disagreed with the FTC’s claims and contended that the district court had correctly considered and evaluated the primary claim. Microsoft emphasized that the court did not misapply the law in its ruling.

Legal experts have noted that the FTC faces an uphill battle in convincing the appeals court to overturn the ruling by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco. This is not the first time during the Biden administration that the FTC has sought to block a Big Tech firm’s acquisition of a content company, only to be unsuccessful in court.

The deal between Microsoft and Activision is also pending approval in the UK, where the Competition and Markets Authority is reviewing detailed proposals to address antitrust concerns. The regulatory body has set a deadline of August 29 to reach a decision.

This legal dispute underscores the ongoing tensions between tech giants and antitrust regulators, as the debate over monopolistic practices and fair competition intensifies. The outcome of this case is expected to have significant implications for the gaming industry and future acquisitions by Big Tech companies.

In conclusion, Microsoft has firmly defended its proposed acquisition of Activision, pushing back against the FTC’s request for a pause in the deal. While the legal battle continues, industry experts and gaming enthusiasts are closely watching for the ramifications this case may have on the future landscape of the gaming market.