it’s about this passage==> Rivals in the video game industry are concerned that Microsoft is offering commitments that he could easily get rid of and which would not be sustainable.

Microsoft’s $75 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard is under intense investigation in Brussels and the UK amid growing fears the deal is anti-competitive and does not prevent its rivals from accessing the hit game Call of Duty.

The move comes as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is set to launch an in-depth investigation this week after Microsoft has decided not to offer corrective action at this time.according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Earlier this month, the CMA became the first global antitrust regulator to sound the alarm on the transaction, giving Microsoft five days to offer undertakings that would resolve its concerns or face an extensive “Phase 2” investigation. .

The companies have already been in talks with regulators in Brussels since the deal was announced eight months ago, under what is known as the pre-notification phase – an indication of how scrupulous officials are during the investigation.

Regulators and other stakeholders in the operation expect an extended European investigation when Microsoft officially files its case in Brussels in the coming weeks. According to people familiar with EU thinking, regulators will take their time reviewing the deal due to its size, the nature of the buyer and growing concerns from rivals, including Sony.

“It’s a big deal, a tough deal”said a person in Brussels familiar with the transaction. “It requires a thorough investigation.”

It comes after Sony accused Microsoft last week of misleading the gaming industry and regulators on its commitments to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles. According to Sony, Microsoft had only offered to keep Activision’s hit game on PlayStation for a limited number of years.

The UK decision highlights the issues Microsoft will have to overcome to secure the biggest deal in its history. The American technology giant hopes complete the transaction by the end of next Junebut it must first clear regulatory hurdles in countries ranging from New Zealand to the United States.

According to people with knowledge of the situation, Microsoft chose not to offer solutions to the CMA at this stage, as there were no obvious commitments the UK regulator would be likely to accept.

The supervisory authority generally does not accept behavioral remedies, such as commitments to maintain access to a product or service, at the end of a Phase 1 investigation, except in rare circumstances.

A competition lawyer with knowledge of the case said thatit was “almost impossible” for Microsoft to come up with a remedy that would prevent the investigation from progressing to a full antitrust investigation.

The deal with Activision comes at a time when regulators around the world are concerned that they have not been as interventionist as they should have been be in previous agreements with large technology companies.

Microsoft said it would continue to offer Call of Duty on games consoles from other companies, such as PlayStation, rather than making it an exclusive title on its Xbox. Brad Smith, president and vice president of Microsoft, previously said, “We want people to have more access to games, not less.”

The company may choose to make a formal commitment to the CMA to guarantee its rivals’ access to games during the second phase of the investigation, when an independent panel will analyze the agreement in depth and consider potential solutions. to antitrust issues.

Regulators hold back Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision

Microsoft’s acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard for $75 billion is under intense investigation in Brussels and the UK following growing concerns that the deal is anti-competitive and will prevent rivals from access the hit game. Call of Duty.

It comes as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is expected to launch a full investigation this week after Microsoft decided not to offer any remedy at this stage, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, the CMA became the first global antitrust regulator to sound the alarm on the transaction, giving Microsoft five days to offer undertakings that would resolve its concerns or face a prolonged investigation from “stage 2”.

The companies have already been in talks with regulators in Brussels since the deal was announced eight months ago, in what is known as the pre-notification phase – an indication of how scrupulous officials will be during the investigation.

Regulators and others involved in the deal expect a prolonged EU investigation once Microsoft formally files its case in Brussels in the coming weeks. People familiar with EU thinking say regulators will take their time reviewing the deal because of its size, the nature of the buyer and growing concerns from rivals, including Sony.

“It’s a big deal, a tough deal,” said a person in Brussels familiar with the deal. “This requires a thorough investigation. »

This comes after Sony last week accused Microsoft of misleading the games industry and regulators over its commitments to uphold Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles. He said Microsoft only offered to continue releasing Activision’s hit game on PlayStation for a limited number of years.

The UK’s decision lays out the issues Microsoft will need to overcome to secure its biggest deal yet. The US tech giant hopes to complete the deal by the end of June next year, but must first overcome regulatory hurdles in countries ranging from New Zealand to America.

Microsoft chose not to offer recourse to the CMA at this stage because there were no obvious commitments the UK regulator would be likely to accept, according to people familiar with the matter.

The watchdog generally does not accept behavioral remedies, such as commitments to maintain access to a product or service, at the end of a Phase 1 investigation, except in rare circumstances.

A competition lawyer familiar with the case said it was “nearly impossible” for Microsoft to offer a remedy that would prevent the probe from progressing to a full antitrust investigation.

The Activision deal comes at a time when regulators around the world fear they may not have been as hands-on as they should have been with respect to previous Big Tech deals.

Microsoft said it would continue to make Call of Duty available on game consoles from other companies, such as PlayStation, rather than making it an exclusive title on Microsoft’s Xbox. Brad Smith, president and vice president of Microsoft, previously said, “We want people to have more access to games, not less. »

The company could choose to make a formal commitment to the AMC to secure its rivals’ access to the games during the second phase of the investigation, when an independent panel will analyze the agreement in depth and consider potential solutions. to antitrust issues.

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