Microsoft continues to build its defense for its proposed $69 billion Activision merger deal in Federal Trade Commission’s in-house court. In a recent development in the case, FTC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell denied and allowed some of the company’s requests in the subpoena it served to Sony.
Part of Microsoft’s discovery process in building its defense for the case is gathering information from its competitors, including Sony, which is deemed the loudest critic of the merger. To do this, the software company served its rival a subpoena requiring it to share certain business details and files. Sony, however, described Microsoft’s subpoena as “truly massive” in the recent documents it filed, which also requested the judge to cancel some of the requests.
In the document shared by the FTC, Judge Chappell granted and denied some of the requests of Sony. To start, its request to request to limit custodians was rejected. This includes Greg McCurdy, Senior Director of Competition & Regulatory Affairs at Sony, who Microsoft believes made communications with the Federal Trade Commission.
The judge also denied Sony’s request to prevent Microsoft from viewing certain documents, including the “executed copy of every content licensing agreement You have entered into with any third-party publisher between January 1, 2012 and present” and “all drafts of and Communications regarding [SIE’s] President and CEO Jim Ryan’s declaration titled ‘SIE Declaration to FTC on Microsoft – Activision Blizzard Transaction,’ dated December 5, 2022.”
On the other hand, Judge Chappell granted some of the requests made by Sony regarding the subpoena, including limiting the documents that will be produced to a certain time period (January 1, 2019 to present).
It can be recalled that Sony described Microsoft’s requests for the discovery process as “obvious harassment” and said that providing the files of just the seven custodians the parties agreed upon would cost approximately $2 million. With the new order, however, the Japanese company will be forced to follow.