UK Watchdog Blocks Microsoft's Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

Due to concerns over stifled competition in the cloud-computing gaming market, British regulators have blocked Microsoft's purchase of leading video-game maker Activision Blizzard.

The deal, which would have cost $69 billion, was set to be the biggest tech deal in history.

The deal had already been scrutinized by regulators in the U.S. and Europe, as well as Sony. All were concerned that Microsoft would hold an unfair advantage in the developing cloud gaming market with control over popular franchises such as "Call of Duty," "World of Warcraft" and "Candy Crush."

“The only effective remedy is to prohibit the Merger,” stated the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in its final report.

On Thursday, Microsoft issued a statement, calling it “probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain.” Microsoft says the wrong message is being sent to the global tech industry about the UK.



“If the government of the United Kingdom wants to bring in investment, if it wants to create jobs (...) it needs to look hard at the role of the CMA, the regulatory structure in the United Kingdom, this transaction, and the message that the United Kingdom has just said to the world,” Microsoft president Brad Smith told BBC radio.

Smith also said that he doesn't believe the CMA has a relevant sense of how cloud technology works or how it affects markets -- adding that Microsoft will appeal and remains fully committed to the acquisition.

Activision is equally committed to reversing the decision.

The chair of the CMA's independent expert panel, Martin Colman, said that cloud gaming has the chance to alter the industry by offering gamers more choice over how and where they play, potentially hurting console gaming as a whole.

“This means that it is vital that we protect competition in this emerging and exciting market,” Colman added.

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