Block of Activision-Blizzard merger is ‘darkest day’ for Microsoft in the UK, Brad Smith argues

It knows you sinned.

Following the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority block of Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard buyout earlier this week – and the rushed dump of the latter’s middle financial report on Wednesday – consumers and industry-watchers were left wondering what Microsoft would do next. It turns out the answer to that is… mildly imply it was reconsidering its position in the UK and resort to hyperbole about the future of innovation in the country.

“This decision, I have to say, is probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain,” Microsoft boss Brad Smith says on a new BBC video. “It does more to shake our confidence in the future of the opportunity to grow a technology business in Britain than we’ve ever confronted before.” (For what it’s worth, the BBC also calls Smith “furious” in its headline, which is not remotely backed up by the video.)

The CMA, of course, says just the opposite, arguing that its goal for the UK is an “environment where a whole host of different companies can compete effectively, can grow and innovate.”

The Beeb also quotes an analyst who says Microsoft simply bungled all along. “The signs were clear for months that this deal was in trouble with UK regulators and yet Microsoft executives didn’t prioritise it or heed the evidence that it was,” he says.

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