The antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission against Microsoft is taking its first plodding steps forward. A judge confirmed last week that the case’s first pre-trial hearing would begin today, January 3rd, as the court begins to determine whether the multi-billion dollar deal between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard would stifle competition and keep the Call of Duty franchise out of the hands of other gaming platforms.
Legal experts analyzing the case believe that the FTC faces an uphill battle, however. Andre Barlow, an antitrust lawyer at Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC, says that Microsoft’s offer of a 10-year deal with Sony for the COD franchise, which the company has tied down for other platforms, could be enough of a concession to let the deal go through, citing three prior cases where such remedies were accepted by judges.
Meanwhile, Chile’s Fiscalía Nacional Económica has allowed the deal to go forward in that country, believing that Microsoft provided enough evidence that it would not stop competition and saying that COD’s impact in Latin American markets is “comparatively less than in other regions of the world.” As an example, the FTE cites Chilean consumer survey results that suggest the number of players who would switch consoles to play the shooter series is low.