Microsoft files response to antitrust lawsuit, denies FTC claims

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Microsoft has responded to the lawsuit filed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking to halt its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision, the company that makes Call of Duty (COD).

In a 37-page reply to the lawsuit, Microsoft essentially argues that acquiring COD will not hurt the competition. Furthermore, the company also says that they have already given a 10-year commitment deal to Nintendo and Sony.

According to one of the documents, Microsoft stated, “Xbox also believes it is good business to make Activision’s limited portfolio of popular games more accessible to consumers, by putting them on more platforms and making them more affordable. That includes making Call of Duty, one of Activision’s most popular games, more broadly available. Microsoft made this public pledge on the day the deal was announced. Since then, Xbox has agreed to provide the game to Nintendo and has offered it to Sony.”

“If Xbox withheld Call of Duty from Sony’s PlayStation or other platforms that compete with Xbox, Xbox would immediately forgo billions of dollars in lost game sales and cleave off a massive portion of the garners that Activision has worked so hard to attract and retain,” the statement further revealed as quoted by The Times of India.

The FTC filed a complaint earlier this month with an administrative law judge in order to prevent Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard.

According to the FTC’s lawsuit, Microsoft has already demonstrated that it can and would withhold content from its gaming competitors by purchasing Zenimax, the parent company of video game developer Bethesda.

The European Commission earlier made it clear that they were not misled in any way during the Zenimax acquisition by Microsoft. According to the commission, Microsoft did not make any ‘commitments’ to the European Commission.

While Sony refused the 10-year deal from Microsoft and has been asking for further investigations from antitrust watchdogs, Nintendo gladly signed a 10-year deal and will be receiving the COD franchise on their Switch devices. One of the biggest gaming marketplace owner Gabe Newell from Valve Software also supported Microsoft.

Activision Blizzard also responded to the FTC’s filings with a 35-page defence of the merger saying, “the regulatory authority is pursuing an ideologically-fueled effort to ignore settled law and it believes that arguments levied by competitors such as Sony to be blinding it.”

“The fact that Xbox’s dominant competitor has thus far refused to accept Xbox’s proposal does not justify blocking a transaction that will benefit consumers,” they added.