Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to cause uproar among antitrust authorities. Now the EU Commission is entering the second stage of the investigation.
The takeover of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft for just under 70 billion US dollars is far from dry, because the international antitrust authorities have not yet been able to get their way through to approval. Although Brazil recently gave its okay, the UK wants to examine the deal more closely. The same now applies to the EU Commission, which has now also initiated a second, more in-depth investigation into the takeover.
Here, too, the reason is fears that Microsoft could withhold Activision Blizzard’s games, in particular blockbusters such as Call of Duty, from other platforms and thus impair competition.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that Microsoft has the ability and potential economic incentive to pursue foreclosure strategies against Microsoft’s competing console video game distributors, such as preventing those companies from distributing Activision Blizzard’s console video games on consoles or the conditions for the use of these video games or access to them,” the statement reads.
Interestingly, the Commission also sees influences with regard to the Windows operating system: “Finally, at this stage of the investigation, the Commission has concerns that the planned acquisition could reduce competition in the market for PC operating systems. In particular, the Commission fears that Microsoft Competing PC operating system vendors’ ability to compete with Microsoft’s Windows operating system by combining Activision Blizzard’s games and Microsoft’s distribution of games via cloud game streaming with Windows would discourage users from buying non-Windows PCs to buy.”
The EU Commission now has 90 working days, i.e. until March 23, 2023, to make a final decision. What this looks like remains to be seen. If the deal is waved through, Microsoft may have to reckon with conditions. The decision by the US Federal Trade Commission, which according to the latest reports is expected to be made this month, will also be exciting and perhaps groundbreaking.
Microsoft @ gamescom 2022 – Mit Lies of P, Pentiment und A Plague Tale: Requiem
Felix and Pirmin were at the Microsoft booth at gamescom and looked at three games at the same time. Lies of P, Pentiment and A Plague Tale: Requiem.