Microsoft to UK watchdog: protect Sony or consider solutions

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Microsoft continues to make efforts to persuade UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. In recent information shared by MLex (via Idas – Resetera), the software giant reportedly offered “solutions” and said that it is now the British watchdog’s decision whether it will allow the deal or “protect Sony.”

In February, the CMA released its provisional findings over its probe on the $69 billion Microsoft-Activision deal. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the conclusion of the in-depth investigation was unfavorable, with the CMA stressing its favor for structural remedies over behavioral remedies.

In relation to that, the competition regulator suggested the partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard or the sell-off of the company’s Call of Duty business and other titles. Supporters of the deal expressed disapproval of the CMA’s findings, with Lulu Cheng Meservey, EVP at Activision Blizzard, saying CMA’s concerns greatly focused on Sony. This, however, is not the first time the UK regulator highlighted Sony. During its Phase 1 investigation, it also expressed fears about the possibility of Sony being refused access to new Call of Duty games.

Nonetheless, Microsoft is taking all possible actions to get the watchdog’s approval. According to an MLex report, the Redmond company offered solutions to “increase the deal’s benefits” for Britain’s gamers and developers. This reportedly includes a “guarantee of 100 percent parity” for Xbox and PlayStation’s access to COD, alongside “legally binding commitments” to ensure “at least 150 million more players” will access the game on other consoles and cloud streaming services post-acquisition.

The offer seemed to directly and specifically target CMA’s concern for Sony. With this, it is no surprise that Microsoft called out the British regulator, which is being accused by some of siding with the software company’s rival.

“The decision now lies with the CMA on whether it will block this deal and protect Sony, the dominant market leader, or consider solutions that make more games available to more players,” said Microsoft. 

In related news, the European Commission extended the review of the merger to April 25. No explanation was given in the filing, but Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, recently said in an interview that EU regulators wouldn’t rush the decision.

More about the topics: Activision Blizzard King, Microsoft-Activision deal, playstation, Sony, xbox