The European Union issues a warning to Microsoft, what changes?

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Unsurprisingly, the European Union sent its list of problems with the Activision Blizzard acquisition as a warning to Microsoft.

The main Activision Blizzard licenses // Source: Klobrille

After a fairly quiet January with the progress of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard at the competition authorities level, things should pick up speed in February.

That’s it ! The EU would have returned to Microsoft its notice about the Activision Blizzard takeover bid, according to the firm MLex.

The CMA (UK) should also issue its guidance in the coming days.

— Cassim Ketfi (@NotCassim) January 31, 2023

On January 31, we learned that the European Union had sent Microsoft its warning letter about the proposed acquisition. An expected step in the procedure after the maneuvers of the FTC to change the course of the file in the old continent.

The media Bloomberg in turn confirms this information through its own sources.

what does it mean

This warning letter has not yet been made public. This is an important step for the OPA project as it is an opportunity for the European Union to formalize the junctions where the OPA project is concerned about the competitive market. Note that this is not formally an adverse opinion or an attempted block as is the case with the FTC’s action.

This is a basis that Microsoft can use to negotiate and potentially win the prized acquisition authorization if the company can convince the European Union. As we indicated in our dossier, the European Union has set April 11, 2023 as the deadline to judge the project.

Unfortunately, the Bloomberg article does not elaborate on the issues highlighted in the warning letter. In particular, they should address the issue of the availability of publisher achievements, such as Obligations on platforms that compete with those of Microsoft. Cloud gaming services like GeForce Now would also be closely watched by the EU.

a tight schedule

The challenge for Microsoft is therefore to succeed in its negotiations with the EU as quickly as possible while signing compromises that the firm can also pursue with the FTC in the US or the CMA in the UK.

The latter’s decision is also eagerly awaited. The British firm Equity Report indicates that the English authority could publish its provisional conclusions as early as next week, between February 6 and 10, 2023.

Therefore, Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard should see decisive developments in the coming days.

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