Microsoft opened 2022 with what will likely become one of the biggest tech stories of the year, a $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. At the time, I wrote that snapping up one of the world’s biggest gaming companies – following other recent gaming buyouts – could see Microsoft accused of attempting a monopoly.
It seems the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the same concerns. According to Bloomberg, the regulator is now investigating the deal. The impact of Microsoft’s acquisition has already been felt, with Sony seeing a major 20% decline in its stock price.
The FTC will surely be looking at how the deal will impact competitiveness. Microsoft will become the owner of major cross-platform brands like Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and Warcraft. While the company is promising cross-platform availability will continue, it is only committing to current contracts.
When those contracts end, franchises like Call of Duty could become Xbox exclusives. With Bethesda already on board following 2020’s $7.5 billion ZeniMax Media purchase, Microsoft is taking increasing control over major gaming brands.
FTC Chair Lina Khan has been pushing for mergers and acquisitions to fall under the regulatory spotlight more. She has been vocal about putting more scrutiny on tech companies looking to thwart competition.
Microsoft wants to close the Activision Blizzard deal in 2023. It is unclear if the investigation will harm that schedule, while it is also not at the stage where the FTC is trying to shut down the transaction.
Interestingly, this is likely just the start of regulatory loopholes Microsoft must jump through. The acquisition is likely to have caused the same concerns in other markets, such as the UK and Europe. Expect investigations to also open in those regions.
Tip of the day: Did you know that a virtual drive on Windows can help you with disk management for various reasons? A virtual drive is just simulated by the platform as a separate drive while the holding file might be stored anywhere on your system.
The data in the drive is available in files or folders, which are represented by software in the operating system as a drive. In our tutorial we show you different ways how to setup and use such virtual drives.