Ihe crusade against monopolies is an endless struggle. Appointed by Joe Biden to head the American antitrust authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Lina Khan is firmly convinced of this. And the enemy of this high-flying lawyer is Big Tech, this handful of digital champions, from Google to Amazon via Microsoft, who each reign over a piece of this gigantic virtual empire of numbers and of algorithms.
The vigilante has just suffered her most scathing defeat, Tuesday, July 11. California federal judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has just ruled in favor of Microsoft in its attempt to get its hands on the famous video game studio, Activision Blizzard.
Announced in January 2022, this marriage at 70 billion dollars (63.5 billion euros) is the largest in the history of computing. The FTC has asked the court to suspend it, because it threatens, according to it, competition throughout the video game sector and will penalize the consumer.
She was dismissed. “The FTC has not been able to demonstrate that this operation would cause a reduction in competition”affirmed the judge, nor that call of duty would no longer be accessible on the PlaysStation console from Sony, Microsoft’s main rival. Relief among teenagers around the world, fans of this mythical shooter.
A considerable change
The operation, which has dragged on for a year and a half, now has every chance of succeeding. Especially since the only competition authority opposed to the acquisition, the British Competition and Markets Authority, indicated, on the same July 11, that it would examine with a benevolent eye any modification of the operation that will be presented to it. and that would allow him to change his mind. It is the revenge of Big Tech against the antitrust activism of “bidenomics”, this economic practice of the current American president which mixes generous subsidies with an assertive fight against monopolies.
For Microsoft and its ambitious boss, Satya Nadella, this giant operation for which it has fought so hard for so long is essential to consolidate its most fragile pillar, that of video games. Its Xbox console struggles with those of Sony or even Nintendo, at a time when this sector, larger than the cinema industry, is undergoing considerable change, with the shift in usage towards mobile and network subscription gaming on Internet. A change similar to that experienced by the world of television, with streaming platforms like Netflix or Disney+.
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