As he said, Microsoft has appealed the CMA’s decision to prevent Activision from buying Blizzard, and a summary of the dispute is now available for review.
In April, after months of deliberations, the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority made a shock decision to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Call of Duty, citing concerns about the growing cloud gaming sector and saying the deal could “hinder competition in this growing market”.
It is a position accepted by some and rejected by others. The European Union, which ratified the deal in May after Microsoft agreed to a deal, has criticized the CMA’s stance, with many politicians including UK Chancellor Jeremy Hutt raising concerns. Microsoft has indeed confirmed that it will launch an appeal criticizing the decision.
That appeal will require Microsoft to take the case to the UK’s Competition Appeal Court, and a summary of the argument is now available for review. These outline five key grounds on which Microsoft is challenging the decision, starting with claims that the CMA made fundamental errors in its assessment. [Microsoft’s] Current cloud gaming services do not take into account the limitations associated with native games” (ie when consumers download a game digitally or play a disc on their device).
It also says the CMA “erred in failing to take due account of three long-term commercial agreements”. [Microsoft] It filed with Cloud Game Providers, calling the CMA’s conclusion that Activision would have made its games available on cloud gaming services without the merger “reached in a manner that was both unreasonable and procedurally unfair” and arguing that Microsoft “would have had” the CMA’s findings. The ability and incentive to remove a competitor’s cloud gaming services by denying access to Activision’s game content after an “unlawful” purchase is made.
Ultimately, Microsoft insisted that the CMA “had an obligation to enforce what it described as a comprehensive solution,” “unlawfully disregarding the Committee’s interests,” and that “Microsoft erred by rejecting it.” Cloud Remedy, and “You have taken action to infringe. [Microsoft’s] The common law duty of fairness and the CMA’s own remedies guidance.
Appealing the CMA’s decision could be a lengthy process for Microsoft and Activision. The UK’s Competition Appeal Court says it aims to resolve straightforward cases within nine months, and if the appeal is successful, it will still have to go back to the CMA for a review.