Microsoft has issued its response to the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The FTC has claimed the $69bn deal would let Microsoft suppress its games industry competition.
The company defended the proposed $69bn buyout, defended its previous acquisition of Bethesda owner ZeniMax Media, and justified its decision to make three future titles from the company exclusive to Xbox and PC.
One of its core arguments is the FTC’s approach to assessing the acquisition is unconstitutional, specifically violating the Fifth Amendment right to due process.
In Microsoft 37pg response to the FTC Microsoft states the FTC approach to the ABK merger is unconstitutional and violates Articles II, III and their right to Equal Protection under the Fifth Amendment pic.twitter.com/t9FQjZEc3P
— Post Up (@PostUp_bbb) December 23, 2022
Analysis by FOSS Patents suggests Microsoft is driving home the point that this buyout primarily concerns Candy Crush maker King and the mobile games market, not Call of Duty.
Crucially, Microsoft’s strategic approach remains “sweet,” stopping short of being extremely combative with the US government.
Indeed, in a statement to The Verge, Microsoft president Brad Smith said: “Even with confidence in our case, we remain committed to creative solutions with regulators that will protect competition, consumers, and workers in the tech sector. As we’ve learned from our lawsuits in the past, the door never closes on the opportunity to find an agreement that can benefit everyone.”
Microsoft reiterated that it intends to release Activision Blizzard games day and date on Xbox Game Pass, something it is currently unwilling to negotiate with the FTC.
Unless both parties thrash out a deal, the lawsuit will go to court, where a judge will set a date for proceedings to begin, or dismiss the case altogether.