Microsoft was hit in a US court on Tuesday by a private consumer lawsuit alleging that the tech firm’s $69 billion (roughly Rs 57,120 crore) acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard would unlawfully suppress competition in the video game industry.
The filing in federal court in California comes about two weeks after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against an administrative law judge seeking to prevent Microsoft, the owner of the Xbox gaming console, from completing the largest-ever acquisition featured in the video. – Game market.
The private suit also seeks an order blocking Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision. It was submitted on behalf of 10 video game players in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.
The suit says the proposed acquisition would give Microsoft “far greater power than the market in the video game industry,” “capable of crowding out competitors, limiting production, reducing consumer choice, raising prices, and further suppressing competition.”
Representatives for Microsoft were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. After the FTC filed the lawsuit, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “We are confident in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”
In a statement, San Francisco-based plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Saveri said, “As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, it is imperative that we protect the market from monopolistic mergers, which in the long run will detrimental to the interests of consumers.”
Private plaintiffs can bring antitrust suits in U.S. courts even when related U.S. agency cases are pending. The acquisition, announced in January, also faces antitrust scrutiny in the European Union.
The FTC previously said it filed the lawsuit to prevent “Microsoft from gaining control of a leading independent game studio.” The agency said the merger would harm competition between Nintendo and Sony Group’s rival gaming platforms.
© Thomson Reuters 2022