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Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition looks more likely than ever after FTC lose court battle

“The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED”

An image of the Xbox, PlayStation and FTC logos
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have lost their fight to block Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition in court. The legal proceedings led to juicy behind-the-scenes details about revenue shares, blockbuster budgets, and other potential acquisitions. But after listening to five days worth of testimonies, Judge Corley has decided to rule in Microsoft’s favour, allowing the company to close its $70 billion acquisition.

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The FTC continually brought up the subject of Call Of Duty exclusivity and parity in its arguments, but Judge Corley was unconvinced by their arguments. As reported by The Verge, Judge Corley's ruling stated: “Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call Of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox". The judge also pointed to Microsoft’s agreements signed with Nintendo and several cloud gaming services as further evidence of their commitment.

“The Court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood… [that] this particular vertical in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition.” Judge Corley also went on to say the “evidence points to more consumer access to Call Of Duty” under Microsoft’s ownership. Hence, “the motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED".

Microsoft president Brad Smith took to Twitter to say: “We’re grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution.”

Smith also tweeted a statement that Microsoft's "focus now turns back to the UK", as they consider how the Competition And Markets Authority's previous objections might be addressed.

Regardless, the road to closing the Activision Blizzard deal seems clearer than ever for Microsoft.

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