Microsoft now facing a bigger probe on its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, with the European Commission taking 90 business days until March 23 to make a decision. The Commission says it is opening an in-depth investigation because it is “concerned that the proposed acquisition could reduce competition in the markets for consoles” and PC games.
EU regulators are also concerned about Microsoft’s Activision deal for PC operating systems
The Commission also says it is concerned that Microsoft may “block access to Activision Blizzard’s console and PC video games,” including high-profile games such as Duty. EU regulators are also concerned about the potential for Microsoft to block the distribution of Activision Blizzard games on competing subscription plans or cloud game streaming services.
These concerns reflect similar complaints from UK regulators, but the European Commission also says it is concerned about competition for PC operating systems with this deal. The Commission is concerned that by combining Activision Blizzard’s games with Microsoft’s distribution of games via cloud game streaming to Windows, Microsoft could reduce the ability of rival PC operating system vendors to compete with Microsoft’s Windows operating system. statement from the European Commission. Commission. “This would discourage users from buying non-Windows PCs.”
The European Commission was widely expected to take a closer look at Microsoft’s Activision deal, especially after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced in September that the deal would be scrutinized. That led Microsoft to argue in favor of its Activision deal before describing the CMA’s concerns as “misguided” and accusing the regulator of taking “Sony’s complaints without considering the potential harm to consumers.”
Whether we’ll get a pretty explosive response from Microsoft to the European Commission’s concerns remains to be seen, but the company has always insisted this will be a thorough process with regulators and it expects to close the deal by the end of fiscal 2023. to close, which ends in June 2023.