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CWA president calls on European Commission to approve Microsoft-Activision merger

The CWA continues its support of Microsoft's bid for Activision Blizzard.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

February 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Black logo for Microsoft's Xbox console.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has gone to bat for Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard again. CWA president Chris Shelton recently sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) asking it to approve the deal between the two game publishers, as it would "help make history in rebalancing power in labor markets."

This Microsoft defense from the CWA released on February 20, the day before Microsoft has to make a case with EU regulators to allow its $68.7 billion merger to go through.

Shelton's letter specifically notes that it's raised concerns about the effect of Microsoft's acquisition on the larger industry. Those concerns with the Xbox maker have reportedly "resulted in an agreement to ensure the workers of Activision Blizzard have a clear path to collective bargaining if the merger is completed."

In July 2022, the CWA told the FTC that it would back the merger, and has helped Microsoft enter into several neutrality agreements as Activision Blizzard and Bethesda's QA employees have unionized. The media labor union believes its working relationship with Microsoft lets it determine how the merger will benefit Activision Blizzard employees. 

A Path to Collective Bargaining

His letter further added that Microsoft keeping its word would "give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company's workers and the broader video game labor market."

As further proof, one Activision Blizzard employee, who is a part of the pro-worker group A Better ABK, was cited in Shelton's letter. That employee said the CWA's relationship with Microsoft was a "game-changer," and helped ensure that "ABK will have an easy path to recognition and easier access to collective action.”

Even if the EU approves the merger, Microsoft still has a ways to go before it can truly acquire Activision Blizzard. It still has to contend with the investigation by fellow UK regulator the CMA, along with the FTC's lawsuit in the United States. 

In the midst of all this, the tech giant has attempted to offer concessions to rivals Nintendo and Sony, such as offering the Call of Duty franchise multiplatform status for a full decade. While Sony still hasn't accepted the offer, Nintendo recently did, meaning the Call of Duty franchise will come to Nintendo if the offer goes through.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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