Microsoft Expansion Ambitions Supported by Saudi Arabia

Can tech companies continue to buy companies amid a backlash?
30 November 2022

Microsoft is powering forward with its campaign to counter intensifying scrutiny of its $69 billion acquisition of video game publisher Activism Blizzard by pressuring Governments around the world to allow this expansion.

Whether Microsoft succeeds in gaining regulatory approval to buy Activision, which makes games such as Candy Crush and Call of Duty, it will send a message about Big Tech’s ability to expand in the face of mounting fears that industry giants wield too much power. 

If Microsoft, whose public affairs operation has spent the past decade building the company’s nice-guy reputation, can’t get a megadeal through, can anyone?

Of the 16 governments reviewing the deal, just Saudi Arabia and Brazil have approved it. Microsoft said that it expected Serbia to approve the deal shortly.

At the heart of regulators’ concerns about the Activision deal is whether it violates antitrust laws by giving Microsoft outsize power in the video game industry. They worry that Microsoft could pull Activision’s games away from competitors like Sony or use them to get an unfair leg up as more gaming is streamed online.

In recent weeks, Microsoft has accused Sony, its chief video game rival, of misleading regulators. Its lawyers have showed off game consoles, including an Xbox, to British officials. And the president of a major union that Microsoft wooed has spoken up on the company’s behalf to the Federal Trade Commission.

Regulators are also worried what the deal might mean for the future, when cloud computing lets people stream sophisticated games to various devices, including mobile phones.

- CyberBeat

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