As was previously speculated, the EU Commission announced its decision regarding Microsoft’s attempted purchase of Activision Blizzard, moving to approve the deal, whereas the UK’s CMA opted to block the deal only weeks ago.
For the CMA’s part, in response to the EU’s decision to approve the deal, the CMA still “stands by its decision,” continuing to argue that the effects of the deal on cloud gaming cannot be underestimated.
The following statement comes from the CMA’s chief executive officer Sarah Cardell, who had a few words for the EU.
“The UK,US and European competition authorities are unanimous that this merger would harm competition in cloud gaming, the CMA concluded that cloud gaming needs to continue as a free, competitive market to drive innovation and choice in this rapidly evolving sector.
Microsoft’s proposals, accepted by the European Commission today, would allow Microsoft to set the terms and conditions for this market for the next ten years.
They would replace a free, open and competitive market with one subject to ongoing regulation of the games Microsoft sells, the platforms to which it sells them, and the conditions of sale.
This is one of the reasons the CMA’s independent panel group rejected Microsoft’s proposals and prevented this deal. While we recognise and respect that the European Commission is entitled to take a different view, the CMA stands by its decision.”
While the EU has moved to approve the deal, it hasn’t done so in complete acceptance of it, there are a few conditions to which Microsoft must abide.
These conditions are all around regulating the cloud gaming market, as the EU does even itself admit this deal is harmful towards the cloud gaming sector.
EU approval is a verified lifeline for the deal at the moment, as it’s rejection by the CMA began to seem like it could shut the whole thing down before it could even get going.
This doesn’t mean however that we’ll stop hearing about this acquisition anytime soon. If the deal clears the CMA’s appeal panel, it’ll then have to go straight back to the CMA, for a second investigation.
And even then, the CMA could once again say no. There’s also the matter of the FTC’s lawsuit against Microsoft over the deal, which though Microsoft could still very well win, things won’t be completely sorted still for a while longer.
A long way to say, this isn’t over yet.