The CMA says the EU is “fully entitled to reach that view”
Yesterday brought the latest twist in the Xbox Activision Blizzard tale when the European Commission officially approved Microsoft’s attempted merger. They now join a fairly extensive list of regions that are in favour of the deal going ahead, however, as is seemingly becoming the norm in this day and age, the UK is the odd one out at the moment.
Late last month, the country’s Competition and Markets Authority officially moved to block the deal – unlike the EU. As a result, UK Members of Parliament have been questioning the CMA on why it came to a different decision to Europe and indeed other countries. Here’s the authority’s response (via Eurogamer):
“The UK has always encouraged – and it is the CMA’s duty to encourage – open competitive markets. We are vigilant – as it is our duty to be – to investments that consolidate an already-entrenched market power.
I would challenge the premise that there is an impact on international confidence on doing business in the UK,”
The CMA also touched on the fact that both it and the EU commission took issue with similar aspects of the proposed deal. However, the CMA felt that it “was not appropriate to accept’ the remedy that Microsoft put forward.
“The [EU] Commission agreed the deal would give rise to competition concerns, there’s no difference between the CMA and EC there […] but the Commission has however concluded it appropriate to accept [Microsoft’s] remedy.
They have their own test to apply and they’ve reached their own view, and they’re fully entitled to reach that view. But we remain of the view, from a UK perspective, that it was not appropriate to accept that remedy.”
Thanks to a speedy response to the EU’s verdict from Microsoft president Brad Smith, we have a bit of an idea as to what this remedy actually was. Smith says that the company is offering “automatic licenses” to competing cloud gaming services – something that seemingly wasn’t enough to impress the CMA.
Clearly, there is some pressure from certain elements of the UK political system to just let this deal go through, but the CMA doesn’t seem willing to budge just yet. Even so, Microsoft has said that it will be appealing the UK authority’s initial decision in the coming weeks and months.
Do you actually think Microsoft can be successful in the UK… eventually? Let us know what you think will happen next.