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FTC to appeal loss against Microsoft in Activision Blizzard case

Microsoft may have won against the FTC earlier in the week, but the regulator isn't done yet.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

July 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Logo for Microsoft's Xbox console.

The FTC is still attempting to block Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. After losing its court case against Microsoft earlier in the week, the US regulator is now looking to appeal the verdict laid out by California judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. 

During the final verdict, Corley found that the FTC's arguments that Microsoft would lock Activision Blizzard properties to Xbox were without merit. And citing Microsoft's multiplatform and cloud game-related deals, she said "the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content."

Details of the FTC's exact arguments are currently unknown, but it needs the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to issue an emergency stay for the current temporary restraining order. That order is set to expire at 11:59 PM PT on July 14, but it's presently not known if the Court will even be able to make a decision before the deal's July 18 deadline. 

If the Ninth Circuit doesn't rule before then, then Microsoft will be able to close its deal with Activision Blizzard, at least here in the US. 

In response to the FTC appeal, Microsoft president Brad Smith said his company was "disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward."

"The District Court’s ruling makes crystal clear that this acquisition is good for both competition and consumers," he added. 

Similarly, Activision Blizzard COO Lulu Chang Meservey noted "the facts haven’t changed. We’re confident the US will remain among the 39 countries where the merger can close. We look forward to reinforcing the strength of our case in court — again.”

Beyond the appeal, Microsoft still has to contend with the FTC's separate lawsuit it filed against the company last December, which is set to begin on August 2. 

Additionally, Microsoft also has to appeal the CMA's blocking of its merger over in the UK. That process will begin at the end of July, though following Corley's ruling, the two parties reportedly agreed to renegotiate. 

That said, the CMA stressed that these talks were in the early stages. It also warned that Microsoft attempting to restructure its deal could result in a brand new investigation from the UK regulator.

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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