It’s a trying time for Microsoft and the Xbox brand, as the company’s leaders head to federal court this week to defend their proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard against the United States Federal Trade Commission.
The legal battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission began last December, when the agency announced her plans to block Microsoft’s massive $68.7 billion purchase. Last week, a California federal court filed a A temporary restraining order requested by the Federal Trade Commission Which is basically blocking the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal right now.
This week’s trial will see the FTC attempt to force a preliminary injunction against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. If successful, it means that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard cannot complete the acquisition while the FTC reviews the deal for compliance with US antitrust law.
The initial injunction will have a significant impact and potentially dealbreaker on Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s plans, as the deal must close by July 18, 2023, or the parties will need to renegotiate. The evidentiary hearing between Microsoft/Activision Blizzard and the FTC It is scheduled for August 2which falls after the deadline next month.
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The trial is taking place in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The hearing is scheduled to take place over five days, beginning tomorrow, June 22. Each day, the trial will run from 8:30 AM Pacific Time to approximately 3 PM. The full schedule is as follows:
- Thursday 22nd June
- Friday 23 June
- Tuesday 27 June
- Wednesday 28 June (afternoon only)
- Thursday, June 29 (if required)
If you want to pay attention to the proceedings yourself, you can do so through the court Enlarge the audio feed to the audience. Or you can come back to this article every day, which we will update with all the news you need from today’s proceedings.
what are you expecting
Tomorrow, we expect to have op-eds and hear from Xbox and Microsoft leaders like Matt Botti, President of Microsoft Studios, Vice President Sarah Bond, and Bethesda Senior Vice President Pete Heinz. During the trial period, we’ll hear from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox President Phil Spencer, Sony’s Jim Ryan, and more.
We got an idea of the FTC’s arguments earlier this week in a new pretrial filing, the agency said Microsoft’s decision to make Starfield an Xbox exclusive is “strong evidence” against merger.
The Federal Trade Commission is just one government agency that Microsoft has been battling, with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority bringing things to a halt overseas. This week’s trial could end up having the biggest impact on what happens to Microsoft’s proposed historic merger with Activision Blizzard.
Stay tuned for more coverage on IGN, including a daily recap of all the action during the trial.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with minor lines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.
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