Monday, January 30

Joe Biden does not want Microsoft to keep ‘Candy Crush’ or ‘Call of Dury’


Updated

The lawsuit filed by the FTC against the operation will be decided by the Justice, in a process that usually takes several months.

Jae C HongPA
  • Microsoft insists Call of Duty can be played on PlayStation as long as the platform exists

The United States Federal Trade Commission does not want the software and cloud giant Microsoft own online games ‘Candy Crush Saga’ and ‘Call of Duty’. And there is not little that is at stake. The producer of those games, Activision Blizzard, has negotiated its sale to Microsoft for 75,000 million dollars (71,000 million euros), in what is the largest operation in history both in the ‘Big Tech’ sector (large technology companies) and in video games.

And that is where, according to regulators, lies the problem. If Microsoft happens to control Activision, they say, will have the ability to suffocate other video game companies thanks to its financial muscle and to the fact that it will be able to integrate the acquired company’s products into its Xbox game console and the virtual reality devices it is developing. According to the consultant Bloomberg Intelligence, the purchase of Activision will give Microsoft a 11% market share of online games.

The result is that an operation that is almost equivalent to the purchase of Inditex remains in limbo. In the US, the procedure in these cases consists of filing a lawsuit in court by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which will later be decided by the Court, in a process that usually takes several months. The FTC’s decision, moreover, has caught the market by surprise, which did not believe that the authorities would try to prevent the acquisition of Activision, despite the change in the political climate in Washington in relation to large companies in general and ‘Big Tech’ in particular after the arrival of Joe Biden to White House.

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The FTC argues that Microsoft already has a history of using video game companies it has acquired to stifle smaller competitors, citing as evidence its purchase in 2021 of ZeniMax Media, the owner of the game developer Bethesda Softworks, that has in its catalog very popular products, such as ‘Redfall’ and ‘Starfield’. According to the regulatory agency, the ‘software’ and ‘cloud’ giant closed access to these games on other platforms, despite the fact that it had guaranteed the European Union that it won’t Now, with the additional market power that Activision will give it, Microsoft will have the ability to impose price increases on its products, or limit the access of other companies to its devices. Thus, it would be about creating a closed ecosystem of games, a bit like the ‘walled garden’ (walled garden) what’s wrong with it Manzana with your app store and operating system ios, What has he done with the apple company? the most valuable company in the world.

Microsoft is precisely the second, with a stock market value of 1.75 trillion euros, after he unseated that country’s state-controlled Saudi oil company yesterday Aramco. The software giant’s sizable rise was partly because investors, as usual, were optimistic about the news that the Activision purchase could be blocked, as that means Microsoft may not have to spend those 75,000 million and, perhaps, distribute them as dividends.

The company of Redmond, on the outskirts of the city Seattle, denies any type of anticompetitive intention with Activision. Microsoft has always had a very appeasing policy towards antitrust authorities, perhaps because of the memory of its epic battle with the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s, when it was about to be ‘scrapped’ by its control of the nascent software and internet industries, both through its operating systems and its ‘Explorer’ browser. This time, however, that strategy seems to have failed him against the left-wing Democrat Lina Khan, who chairs the FTC. The problem for Microsoft is greater, because the antitrust authorities of Great Britain and the EU is also analyzing the purchase of Activision.

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Khan seems to have declared war on ‘Big Tech’, as was made clear this week in the trial against Goal -the old one Facebook- for your purchase plan Within, a start-up that has developed the virtual reality app for fitness and sports ‘Supernatural’.

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