FTC not in “substantive” negotiations with Microsoft at this time

While the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to staff and Microsoft’s ongoing settlement talks with Microsoft over its ongoing efforts to acquire Activision Blizzard, the two sides “have not engaged in any substantive discussions” at this time. ”

That’s according to FTC attorney James Weingarten, who attended Tuesday’s pretrial hearing to discuss Microsoft’s proposed record-breaking $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

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Back in December, the FTC expressed interest in blocking Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, arguing that if the deal was allowed to proceed, it would allow the company to suppress competition from its peers in the gaming industry.

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“Microsoft has shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming competitors,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s competition bureau, said at the time, citing Microsoft’s previous complaints against ZeniMax. acquisition.

Here, the FTC addressed Microsoft’s past decision to make games from its subsidiaries (namely Bethesda’s Starfield and Redfall) for exclusive use on Microsoft devices, despite previously assuring European regulators that it There’s no incentive to hold back games from rival consoles.

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“We sought to prevent Microsoft from gaining control of a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing game markets,” Vedova’s statement continued.

However, Microsoft disputed the FTC’s claim that the acquisition would be anticompetitive. In fact, in a response to the lawsuit, platform owners called the FTC’s move unconstitutional, noting that it specifically violated Fifth Amendment due process rights.

So it remains a case of waiting game whether the two parties can come to some sort of agreement before the lawsuit goes to court. According to Weingarten, however, the agency “currently” has no plans to let that happen.

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