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Statement on European Commission Hearing with Industry over Microsoft / Activision Merger

Microsoft’s media blitz rings hollow as company fails to address key regulatory concerns

Feb 23, 2023

The following statement can be attributed to George Rakis, Executive Director for NextGen Competition:

Microsoft’s presentation to regulators and the public was slick and well-orchestrated. However, the agreements announced with Nintendo and Nvidia failed to address core concerns outlined by the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) around high-performance console gaming and cloud gaming. Microsoft already dominates the emerging cloud gaming market accounting for 60-70%. Nothing about the agreement would prevent Microsoft from dominating the market and harming gamers—particularly those that cannot afford an expensive gaming console or gaming PC. This is a band-aid on a severed artery.

Moreover, yesterday’s press blitz by Microsoft was overshadowed by the childish antics of Activision’s leadership team. While Microsoft was playing politics, Activision’s CEO was recently on CNBC disparaging regulators, and its COO and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs thought that tweeting goofy memes was effective pushback.

Sadly, Activision appears to be more interested in turning these proceedings into a circus—full of bullying and name-calling—that matches how it does business within its notoriously toxic company culture. Meanwhile, Microsoft has yet to release a plan for how it’ll hold leadership accountable for worker abuse and anti-union antics. This process still has a long way to go.

About NextGen Competition

Our mission is to support a robust and competitive technology ecosystem by opposing anti-competitive business practices and promoting greater industry accountability. Specifically, we oppose consolidation in the industry that undermines worker protections and employer accountability, threatens data privacy and security, encourages market concentration, and limits consumer choice. NextGen Competition intends to work with a broad coalition of unions and public interest partners as it seeks to oppose anti-competitive business practices.