The FTC and Microsoft battled in court in an antitrust lawsuit in the 1990’s when Microsoft was accused of attempting to maintain a monopoly position in the personal computer market. The case resulted in a settlement being reach in 1994 that involved Microsoft modifying its business practices. In June of this year the FTC and Microsoft were battling in court again for the same reason, this time over an attempted monopoly in the gaming market.
FTC officials were on alert after Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media, a video game holding company, in March of 2021 and then announced its intention of purchasing Activision Blizzard, another standalone interactive entertainment and gaming corporation, in January of 2022. The combined acquisitions could put consumers at risk because,
- Microsoft created and owns Xbox.
- Many of Activision Blizzard’s franchises would be added to Microsoft’s subscription service Xbox Game Pass.
- Currently Activision Blizzard’s game franchises, like Call of Duty, are available on PlayStation.
- The FTC is concerned consumers will be forced to purchase an Xbox and Xbox Game Pass when their favorite games are no longer available on PlayStation.
This case may seem insignificant to those uninterested in gaming, yet considering antitrust laws exist to protect competition which protect consumers and Microsoft is in the process of spending approximately $75 billion in total to allegedly “own” cloud gaming and multi-game subscriptions, it was certainly worth the time of Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley who caught the case. Click HERE for details on the arguments presented both sides during trial as well as Judge Corley’s input on the case. She ruled to allow the Microsoft-Activision deal to go through as planned, although it is still blocked from closing in Britain.