Insiders told Reuters that the European Commission is expected to inform Microsoft of objections to the acquisition of Activision Blizzard sometime in the coming weeks.

Microsoft announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 2022. Activision Blizzard develops well-known games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Microsoft depends on regulatory approval to seal the deal.

The European Commission is the top market regulator of the European Union. The institution monitors large acquisitions to prevent monopolies. Insiders recently told Reuters that the European Commission is expected to raise objections to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Objections

Microsoft will reportedly be notified of the objections sometime in the coming weeks. This does not necessarily mean that the acquisition is off the table. The tech giant does, however, face an issue. The contents of the objections are unknown, but a previous inquiry by the US market regulator gives us an idea.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) objected to the acquisition in December 2022. According to the FTC, the acquisition allows Microsoft to thwart competitors such as Sony (Playstation) and Nintendo (Switch) by optimizing Activision Blizzard games exclusively for its own platforms (Xbox and Windows).

Courts determine

Microsoft will have the opportunity to defend itself against the FTC’s objections. The same goes for any objections raised by the European Commission. Ultimately, courts determine whether the acquisition goes through.

The European Commission previously promised Microsoft that it would receive the conclusion of its investigation by April 11. Reuters contacted the Commission for a comment, but the regulator declined.

Microsoft did share a statement. “We’re continuing to work with the European Commission to address any marketplace concerns”, the tech giant said. “Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal.”

Microsoft and gaming

Microsoft has years of experience in the gaming industry. Windows is by far the most popular platform for PC game consumers and developers. Moreover, Microsoft Xbox gained market share from Sony PlayStation in recent years.

Major players such as Sony, Apple and Tencent deliver fierce competition. The acquisition of Activision Blizzard would significantly increase Microsoft’s market share.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting form of entertainment on any platform today, and will certainly play a key role in the development of the Metaverse platform in the future”, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella commented after the acquisition was announced in 2022.

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