Microsoft provided Ars with an executive summary of its response to the UK’s competition regulator. The CMA has referred Microsoft’s proposed merger with Yahoo to a Phase 2 investigation. This could result in the merger being prohibited or require the company to sell some parts of its business.
Microsoft says it’s “not credible” to suggest PlayStation could be foreclosed by the third largest provider as a result of losing access to one title.
Microsoft has responded to the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) concerns about the Call of Duty franchise. The company says the CMA’s concerns are “misplaced” and overstates the importance of Activision Blizzard’s content. Microsoft made the executive summary of its response public today.
Microsoft and Sony have both released statements about the state of the Call of Duty franchise. Microsoft: Sony has more exclusive first- and third-party titles on PlayStation, nearly five times as many as on Xbox. The company also said that Sony has increased the prices of its consoles without fear of losing market share.
The UK is investigating gaming competition.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has referred the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger to the Competition Commission over concerns about competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services. Call of Duty and other franchises could be withheld from other platforms, the regulator has said.
In the US, the company is waiting for a decision from the Federal Trade Commission to approve the deal.
Microsoft plans to complete the merger in the fiscal year 2023
The CMA has until March 1, 2023, to issue its final report. Following a final report, “the CMA with a statutory deadline of 12 weeks to make an order or accept undertakings to give effect to its Phase 2 remedies,” according to UK rules.
Hearings are scheduled for December, and according to the published timeline, “provisional findings and possible remedies” could be announced in January. After that, the parties would have until February to submit their final responses and submissions.
Microsoft stated that it is confident that the merger will be approved and dealt with by the UK. “We are committed to responding to the CMA’s questions, and we believe that a thorough review will ultimately help the deal close with broad confidence.” We’re still on track for it to happen.