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Home » ‘Microsoft won’t shoot itself in the foot’: EU chief explains approval of deal with Activision Blizzard

‘Microsoft won’t shoot itself in the foot’: EU chief explains approval of deal with Activision Blizzard

A few weeks ago, the European Union approved a multi-billion dollar deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzardfor which he was criticized by the British regulator, who sided with Sony.

Head of the European Commission Margret Vestager spoke at a press conference, during which she touched on the topic of the merger of the two publishing houses. She expressed the opinion that regulators should not worry about how their decisions are perceived in society..

“Currently, some people think that agencies should either block or green-light mergers. If you block, you are perceived as a tough law enforcer, and if you give approval, you are not perceived as such. This is not our policy.

The wording of enforcement in a binary decision (approve or block) is restrictive. There will be cases where the market will not necessarily improve if we block the merger.

We sometimes make decisions that are inconsistent with any other jurisdiction. Therefore, I would like to take a few minutes to explain why we believe that the merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard – with the appropriate remedies – is not only compatible with the Single Market, but actually represents a positive development of the situation.”

Margrethe Vestager emphasized that the combined share of Microsoft and Activision in Europe is not dominant. According to statistics, shooters occupy only 20% of the EU market, while sales of PlayStation consoles are four times higher than those of Xbox.

As for Call of Duty, the European Commission concluded that Microsoft would not “shoot itself in the foot” by limiting sales of games to a much larger base of PlayStation players, which the UK regulator also agreed with.

Europe and UK disagree on cloud gaming positions it has become a stumbling block for British regulators, but not for European ones.

“We had some serious concerns about cloud gaming – it’s still a nascent market that we expect to grow as it offers many benefits for gamers. We were potentially concerned that Microsoft would make Activision games exclusive to its cloud gaming service. This would limit consumer access to games and solidify Windows’ position as an operating system.

But in the end, we disagreed with the CMA on the issue of the adequacy of the remedies. We have taken note of the 10-year free license that Microsoft has guaranteed to other services and their customers. This Microsoft approach fully satisfied our concerns. And it seems to us that he will be positively on the competition.

As a result, some Microsoft agreements with third-party cloud companies have already taken effect – Xbox games have begun to appear in GeForce NOW and Boosteroid. At the same time, in the case of a deal with Activision Blizzard, the releases of this publisher will also be in the catalogs of all cloud services with which the corporation has entered into agreements.

“Our mission is to find solutions that provide fair play for all market participants and audiences. We work closely with all parties and agencies. This is our Call of Duty [служебный долг]».

Read also: The media pointed to a possible connection between the head of the British antitrust regulator and Sony – he blocked the deal between Microsoft and Activision

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