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Microsoft Activision-Blizzard First Pre-Trial Hearing is Set for January 3

The first pre-trial hearing in the case against Microsoft over its $69 billion bid to acquire Activision Blizzard has been scheduled for January 3 by a judge.

Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard Logos
Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard Logos

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), responsible for enforcing antitrust laws, asked a judge to block the transaction earlier this month. The FTC argued that the merger would allow Microsoft's Xbox to have exclusive access to Activision games, leaving Nintendo consoles and Sony's PlayStation out in the cold.

Microsoft Offers Concessions in Defense of Activision Acquisition

Microsoft has countered the FTC's argument by stating that the deal would benefit both gamers and gaming companies. The company has offered to sign a legally binding consent decree with the FTC in which it will provide "Call of Duty" games to rivals, including Sony, for a decade. This offer was made in a filing to convince an FTC judge to allow the deal to proceed.

Biden Administration Takes Muscular Approach to Antitrust Enforcement

The Microsoft-Activision case is a clear example of the Biden administration's approach to antitrust enforcement. However, antitrust experts believe that the FTC may have a difficult time convincing a judge to block the deal due to the voluntary concessions offered by Microsoft. These concessions are meant to alleviate concerns that Microsoft could dominate the gaming market.