Victory: Microsoft Wins U.S. Appeals Court Battle Against Federal Trade Commission to Acquire Activision Blizzard

US Appeals Court Denies FTC Appeal in Microsoft’s Activision Acquisition

In a significant win for Microsoft, the US Appeals Court for the 9th Circuit has rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) appeal of a judge’s decision. The ruling clears the way for Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard to proceed. The decision comes after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled against the FTC earlier this week, prompting the agency to file an appeal on Wednesday.

The FTC had initially sued to block the acquisition in December, expressing concerns about the deal’s potential anti-competitive effects. Specifically, the FTC argued that Microsoft could restrict access to certain games by making them exclusive to its Xbox consoles. It also raised concerns about the impact on the multiplayer experience of Activision games like Call of Duty on rival platforms. In response, Microsoft assured that it would instead focus on making the games more widely available.

Despite the recent victory, Microsoft still needs to address concerns from the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority before finalizing the deal. The company and Activision Blizzard had aimed to close the transaction by July 18.

The decision by the US Appeals Court represents a significant setback for the FTC, which has been attempting to assert itself in scrutinizing large tech industry mergers and acquisitions. It highlights the challenges the agency faces as it tries to regulate the sector more effectively. The ruling also underscores the immense power that tech giants like Microsoft wield and their ability to overcome regulatory obstacles.

The court’s decision is seen as a validation of Microsoft’s argument that the acquisition will benefit the gaming industry by leveraging its resources and expertise to enhance the gaming experience for a larger audience. As Microsoft moves forward with the acquisition, industry observers will be closely watching the potential impact on the competitive landscape and the gaming community as a whole.

The FTC and Microsoft have yet to comment on the ruling, and it remains to be seen whether the agency will pursue further legal avenues to block the deal. This development is still ongoing, so stay tuned for updates on this breaking story.