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Microsoft's Activision Acquisition Gets EU Nod Despite UK Rejection

Microsoft Corp has secured EU antitrust approval for its monumental $69 billion acquisition of Activision. This development could influence the decisions of Chinese and Korean regulators despite the deal being vetoed by the UK.

Microsoft building
Microsoft building

Microsoft's Continuing Struggle for Activision Deal Approval

Despite this European victory, Microsoft still has a challenging road ahead to finalize the deal. They have until May 24 to appeal the UK's Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) decision to block the deal, with a definitive conclusion potentially months away. Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's case against the deal is still under consideration.

EU Commission Endorses Largest Gaming Deal in History

The European Commission has expressed its support for the deal, stating that it enhances competition in the gaming industry, confirming a Reuters report from March. Microsoft's licensing agreements are both practical and beneficial, said European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

Microsoft's Pro-Competitive Licensing Deals in Spotlight

According to Vestager, these licenses significantly improve the landscape for cloud game streaming, which is why the EU considers them pro-competitive. The EU watchdog pointed out that Microsoft has proposed 10-year free licensing deals for European consumers and cloud game streaming services for Activision's PC and console games.

Microsoft Collaborates with Major Gaming Companies

In recent months, Microsoft has inked deals with Nvidia, Nintendo, Ukraine's Boosteroid, and Japan's Ubitus. These collaborations aim to bring Activision's Call of Duty to their gaming platforms, given the deal gets the green light.

Global Licensing of Activision Blizzard Games

Microsoft President Brad Smith stated that the European Commission had mandated Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games globally to competing cloud gaming services. This initiative will enable millions of global consumers to play these games on any device they choose.

EU and UK Diverge on Cloud Gaming Market Growth Predictions

Vestager indicated that the Commission's prediction of the cloud gaming market's growth differs from the UK's. She added that the UK anticipates a faster-developing market. However, she believes their approved licensing conditions will facilitate greater cloud gaming market expansion.

UK Competition Authority Stands Firm on Microsoft Deal Veto

Despite the EU's approval, the UK Competition and Markets Authority remains steadfast in its veto of the deal. Microsoft plans to appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, but a decision is expected in sonly a few months.

Further Challenges Await: The US Federal Trade Commission and Japan's Stand

The last major obstacle to the deal is the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which also looks to block the agreement. On the other hand, Japan has already approved the takeover in March.