Microsoft President Brad Smith on Thursday criticized Britain’s competition watchdog’s decision to block the software giant’s $69 billion takeover of game developer Activision, saying it was a “bad day for Britain” and “the darkest day in Microsoft’s four decades” in the country. File Pool Photo by Drew Angerer/UPI | License photo
April 27 (UPI) — Microsoft drew fire from Britain on Thursday over its decision to block its $69 billion takeover of game developer Activision.
The Competition and Markets Authority’s decision on Wednesday, which argued that the merger would strengthen Microsoft’s dominance in cloud computing, was a “bad day” for Britain. would discourage investment in its technology sector, Microsoft president Brad Smith told the BBC.
He added that it was the biggest decline for Microsoft since it started in Britain in the early 1980s.
“The clear message here is that the European Union is a more attractive place to do business than the UK,” Smith said.
“I have to say that this decision is probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain. This has more than shaken our confidence in the future of technology business in the UK more than ever before.”
“People are shocked, people are disappointed and people’s trust in technology in the UK has been badly shaken,” Smith added, urging the government to “take a hard look at the role of the CMA and the regulatory structure.
The CMA responded by saying its decision ensures the market remains accessible to all players, allowing them to continue to compete in Britain’s fast-growing cloud gaming sector.
“The CMA’s job is to do what’s best for the people, businesses and economy of the UK, not to align companies with commercial interests,” a CMA spokesperson told UPI.
“Our solution ensures that a diverse range of businesses, large and small, can continue to compete in this fast-growing market, driving innovation and consumer choice.” These are the best conditions to attract investment and support growth.
The CMA said the US Federal Trade Commission had also sued Microsoft in the United States to block the deal.
Microsoft already had a powerful position and advantage over other competitors in cloud gaming, and the deal would strengthen that advantage, giving it the opportunity to “harm new and innovative competitors,” said Martin Coleman, the organization’s chief executive. an independent panel of experts who conducted the CMA investigation.
Microsoft has engaged constructively with us in an attempt to resolve these issues, and we are grateful for that, but their proposals were not effective in addressing our concerns and would have replaced competition with ineffective regulation in a new and dynamic market,” Coleman added.
The acquisition is also fiercely opposed by rival game developer and PlayStation console maker Sony, which fears that Microsoft’s Xbox platform will push PlayStation out of business.
In announcing its decision on Wednesday, the watchdog said the acquisition would “reinforce Microsoft’s edge” in cloud gaming by bringing Activision’s most popular brands, including Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft.