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posted by janrinok on Friday April 28 2023, @11:09AM   Printer-friendly

UK government blocks Microsoft's proposed Activision purchase

In its long-awaited final report, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority said that Microsoft's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision would "result in a substantial lessening of competition" (SLC) in the supply of cloud-gaming services in the UK. As such, the regulator said that "the only effective remedy to this SLC and its adverse consequences is to prohibit the Merger."

The final report cites Microsoft's "strong position" in the cloud-gaming sector, where the company has an estimated 60 to 70 percent market share that makes it "already much stronger than its rivals." After purchasing Activision, the CMA says Microsoft "would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision's titles exclusive to its own cloud gaming service."

Microsoft has in recent months signed deals with Nvidia and smaller cloud-gaming providers in an attempt to "mak[e] even more clear to regulators that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available on far more devices than before," as Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in a statement last month. But the CMA said these kinds of cloud-gaming deals—which Microsoft submitted to the CMA as a proposed remedy for any anticompetitive effects of the merger—were "limited to cloud gaming providers with specific business models" and thus not sufficient to address the regulator's concerns.

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Microsoft's president has attacked the UK after it was blocked from buying US gaming firm Activision, saying the EU was a better place to start a business.

The move was "bad for Britain" and marked Microsoft's "darkest day" in its four decades of working in the country, Brad Smith told the BBC.

The regulator hit back saying it had to do what's best for people, "not merging firms with commercial interests".

The UK's move means the multi-billion dollar deal cannot go ahead globally.

Although US and EU regulators have yet to decide on whether to approve the deal, the UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said: "Activision is intertwined through different markets - it can't be separated for the UK. So this decision blocks the deal from happening globally."

If it had been approved, the $68.7bn (£55bn) deal would have been the gaming industry's biggest ever takeover, and would have seen Microsoft get hold of massively popular games titles such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday April 28 2023, @11:19AM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday April 28 2023, @11:19AM (#1303605)

    I mean, it's not like Microsoft has ever done anything anti-competitive before, like, say, leveraging an operating system monopoly to eliminate an application that ran on it that they didn't like. And in this case, I'm sure they haven't even dreamed of using control of the game catalog to try to force people to buy X-Boxes rather than Playstations.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Gaaark on Friday April 28 2023, @11:28AM

    by Gaaark (41) on Friday April 28 2023, @11:28AM (#1303607) Journal

    Yeah: you reap what you sow, Microsoft.

    From the MOTD: "Jesus may love you, but I think you're garbage wrapped in skin." -- Michael O'Donohugh

    This ^ is Microsoft.

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Friday April 28 2023, @01:23PM

    by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 28 2023, @01:23PM (#1303621) Journal

    Why quote only the m$ owned and controlled press and pseudo press?

    I prefer Cory Doctorow's take on it, that the UK has prevented a convicted monopolist from re-offending []. Really everyone should be breathing a sigh of relief at this decision, especially gamers.

    M$ acquired the DOS monopoly from IBM via Bill's mother and has only ever had one trick in its bag: abusing and extending the existing monopolies into new markets. Right now the primary means they have are the OEM monopoly and the productivity software format monopoly. With the arrival of Android, though, the OEM monopoly is starting to matter very little forcing to branch out more into selling 'bug doors' to various agencies around the world. That may have been tolerable to some, but not all, while things were cooler but now that war is spreading, especially hybrid war, any presence of m$ products in mission-critical services is truly unacceptable.

    Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.