Europe undermines US arguments to block takeover

The European Commission responded to the US decision to block Microsoft’s takeover of Activision, undermining one of the FTC’s main arguments.

Xbox Series X // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

This week was particularly crucial in relation to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. It must be said that on Thursday, December 8, the FTC – responsible for regulating competition in the United States – met and decided to take Microsoft to court to prevent the takeover of the first video game publisher in the world.

Among the various arguments put forward by the FTC, one concerns Microsoft’s track record and in particular the acquisition of Zenimax (Bethesda) in March 2021. According to the FTC’s argument, “Microsoft assured the European Commission during its antitrust review of the Zenimax takeover that it had no intention of blocking Zenimax titles from rival consoles. But after the EU Commission validated the transaction, Microsoft announced that they wanted to make more Zenimax titles, including Starfield , red falland Elder Scrolls VI Microsoft exclusive “.

It is precisely because of this apparent change of heart on Microsoft’s part that the FTC decided to attack the company to prevent it from buying Activision Blizzard King. Even though Microsoft has assured that they will keep the licensecall of dutyon PlayStation, on Steam and even to offer it on Nintendo consoles, the FTC claims not to trust the manufacturer’s statements: “Microsoft’s past behavior brings discredit to its public commitment to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles until the end of the existing commitment between Activision and Sony“.

A large part of the FTC’s argument therefore dwells on statements that Microsoft allegedly made to the European Commission … except that those statements were never decisive in the European decision.

The European Commission disputes the FTC’s main argument

As WCCFTech relays, the MLex agency asked the European Commission on Friday, December 9, to discover that the European authority had never required such remarks from Microsoft. Asked by MLex, the European Commission states:

The Commission unconditionally confirmed Zenimax’s takeover of Microsoft as it concluded that the transaction did not raise competition concerns.

Above all, Microsoft had not at that time sought to reassure the European Commission with such promises and the decision “did not rely on a statement from Microsoft about its future distribution strategy for Zenimax games“.

In other words, the FTC’s main argument for attacking Microsoft appears to be alleged statements refuted by the European Commission itself.

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