Microsoft Claims CMA’s Decision To Block Activision Deal Was Fair

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Previously Criticized CMA For Blocking Acquisition!

Story Highlights
  • Brad Smith recently claimed that the CMA was fair in its scrutiny of the Activision Blizzard merger.
  • His tone was very different last year, calling the decision bad for business.
  • The Microsoft president also discussed his commitment to the UK AI infrastructure.

Microsoft finally became the owner of Activision Blizzard in October, bringing an end to over a year of efforts against various regulators. Among the opposing forces, the CMA was quick to block the deal during its initial decision.

While the regulator believed this was the best option, Brad Smith thought the announcement marked Microsoft’s darkest day in the UK. Fast forward to January, the Microsoft president has a different opinion, calling the decision fair.

Why it matters: This is undeniably the biggest merger in the history of gaming, making it difficult for Microsoft to convince regulators throughout the world.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition

During a recent interview with BBC, Microsoft’s president stated that the CMA did not make an unjust decision. He said:

“I think the CMA vindicated its position but still created a pragmatic path forward for innovation and investment.”

He explained that CMA’s decision to block the deal allowed Microsoft to make a few changes in the acquisition. This included handing over streaming rights to Ubisoft in the region.

The primary reason the CMA blocked Microsoft’s acquisition was because it thought the gaming giant’s foothold over cloud gaming would lead to reduced choices for consumers.

Previously, Brad Smith was visibly unhappy with the regulator’s decision. However, reflecting on the situation, the Microsoft president pointed out that he learned a lot from the series of events.

This comment suggests Microsoft is now on good terms with the CMA. As one of the UK’s largest businesses, this outcome is beneficial for both Microsoft and the region’s gaming industry.

Brad Smith also discussed Microsoft’s £2.5 billion commitment to the UK AI infrastructure in partnership with the UK government.

brad smith

While approaching the UK government, he stated that they acted more boldly than any government in 2023, committing £900 million to build AI infrastructure for the researchers in the UK.

Overall, the acquisition has received mixed responses, as the EA CEO believes that the deal will grow the industry over time. However, the FTC is still opposing the merger.

While this may be another hurdle Microsoft would rather avoid, the gaming giant’s experience dealing with opposition from various regulators last year should ensure that it does not struggle much against the FTC’s current case.

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