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Microsoft president commends UK regulator in Call of Duty deal

Microsoft worked diligently to secure approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Initially blocked by the CMA, which argued the deal would hinder competition in the cloud gaming market, Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, criticized the decision, calling it “bad for Britain” and one of Microsoft’s “darkest days” in its four decades of operating in the country. However, in a recent interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Smith seemed to have a change of heart, praising the British regulator.

During the interview, Smith described the British regulator as “tough and fair” and acknowledged that he had personally learned a lot from the process. While not completely stepping back from the concerns raised in April, Smith suggested he might choose slightly different words to express his point.




Microsoft President Does A 180 On UK Regulators After Initial Clash Over  Activision Deal : r/Blizzard
Microsoft President Does A 180 On UK Regulators After Initial Clash Over Activision Deal

After initially rejecting the merger, the CMA extended an olive branch, asking Microsoft to make changes to the deal to address the regulator’s competition concerns. Microsoft responded by restructuring its Activision Blizzard deal and granting key cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft.

“The CMA held to a tough standard, and I respect that. In my view, it was tough and fair. It pushed Microsoft to change the acquisition that we had proposed for Activision Blizzard, to spin out certain rights that the CMA was concerned about with respect to cloud gaming,” Smith commented during the interview.

In a previous interview with the BBC, Smith had expressed disappointment with the CMA’s decision, stating, “It does more than shake our confidence in the future of the opportunity to grow a technology business in Britain than we’ve ever confronted before. People are shocked, people are disappointed, and people’s confidence in technology in the UK has been severely shaken.”

He also emphasized a clear message about the attractiveness of the European Union for starting a business compared to the United Kingdom.

This change in tone indicates a level of acknowledgment and respect for the regulatory process in the UK, even if it initially led to frustration and criticism. It underscores the importance of working with regulatory bodies to address concerns and highlights the evolving dynamics of major tech acquisitions in the current regulatory landscape.

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