The US software giant still faces a battle to secure the $69 billion deal as Britain blocks it and the US seeks to block it.
Microsoft Corp won European Union antitrust approval for its $69bn acquisition of Activision on Monday, in a key development that could prompt regulators in China and Korea to followed despite a British veto on the deal.
The US software giant still faces a battle to secure a deal. You have until May 24 to appeal the decision of Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to block it. The final decision could take months. The United States Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against the deal is also pending with the agency.
The European Commission said the biggest gaming deal was pro-competitive because of Microsoft’s licensing deals.
Such licenses are “practical and effective”, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager told reporters.
“In fact, they have greatly improved the situation for cloud game streaming compared to the current situation, so we consider them pro-competitive,” he added.
The EU watchdog said Microsoft offered 10-year free licensing deals to European consumers and cloud game streaming services for Activision’s PC and console games.
Microsoft in recent months has signed such deals with Nvidia, Nintendo, Ukraine’s Boosteroid and Japan’s Ubitus to bring Activision’s Call of Duty to their gaming platforms if the deal goes through.
“The European Commission required Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games automatically to competing cloud gaming services. This would apply globally and empower millions of consumers worldwide to will play these games on any device they choose,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Vestager said the Commission will have a different assessment of how the cloud gaming market will grow in contrast to the United Kingdom.
“They see that this market is growing faster than we thought,” he said. “There’s a bit of a paradox here, because we think that the drugs we’re taking will allow the licensing of many, many more cloud gaming markets.”
The UK Competition and Markets Authority said it stood by its veto. Microsoft will appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, with a decision expected to take months.
The other remaining major obstacle is the US Federal Trade Commission, which intends to block the deal. Japan approved the acquisition in March.