FTC and Microsoft in Limbo Over Activision Blizzard Deal: No “Substantive” Talks Held Yet

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated that there have been no “substantive” discussions about concessions between the two parties “at this time,” according to FTC lawyer Jame Weingarten, who spoke during a pretrial hearing on Tuesday regarding Microsoft’s proposal to purchase Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.

The FTC announced its intention to prevent Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in December, alleging that allowing the merger to proceed would stifle and undermine competition. Holly Vedova, the FTC’s director of competition, stated that “Microsoft has already demonstrated that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” and that the FTC intended to prevent Microsoft from acquiring control of a leading game studio because it would “harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”

They also addressed Microsoft’s previous choice to make titles like Redfall and Starfield exclusive to Xbox systems, arguing that Microsoft persuaded European authorities it had no motivation to restrict material from other platforms. The European Commission, however, has denied this, noting that Microsoft made no such guarantee as part of the antitrust assessment last year.

Microsoft and Activision have responded to similar accusations, claiming that acquiring a single game would not be enough to upend the industry, pointing to the controversy surrounding the Call of Duty series. According to Microsoft, the lawsuit is illegal and violates the company’s Fifth Amendment right to due process.

As things stand, if a compromise on concussions cannot be reached, the matter will go to trial in August, when it will be decided if the transaction can go through.

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