Microsoft has emerged victorious in a legal tussle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The ruling, delivered by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, allows Microsoft to proceed with the acquisition, despite an ongoing antitrust case.
A Win for Microsoft
The five-day trial concluded with Judge Corley denying the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction. The judge acknowledged the need for scrutiny of Microsoft’s acquisition, given its status as the largest in tech history.
However, she also recognized Microsoft’s commitments to maintain Call of Duty on PlayStation for a decade, bring the game to Nintendo Switch, and introduce Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services.
The Fallout of the Ruling
The ruling has elicited reactions from various stakeholders. Microsoft president Brad Smith expressed gratitude for the swift decision, while Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted that the evidence showed the Activision Blizzard deal is beneficial for the industry.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick echoed this sentiment, stating that the merger would foster competition and benefit consumers and workers.
On the other hand, the FTC expressed disappointment in the outcome, with spokesperson Douglas Farrar stating that the regulator would announce its next steps soon.
The Road Ahead
Despite the ruling, Microsoft still faces hurdles in closing the Activision Blizzard deal. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) moved to block the acquisition in April, and Microsoft is currently appealing that decision. However, both parties have agreed to pause their legal battle to negotiate a potential remedy to the CMA’s cloud gaming concerns.
The FTC has until 11:59 PM PT on July 14th to appeal Judge Corley’s decision. If the court order stands, this would mark the second major loss for FTC Chair Lina Khan.