Microsoft boss calls CMA decision to block Activision deal ‘bad for Britain’

Microsoft boss calls CMA decision to block Activision deal ‘bad for Britain’
Ben Borthwick Updated on by

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Just over a day removed from the CMA deciding to block Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Call of Duty publisher Activision, Microsoft president Brad Smith has hit out at the ruling, calling it the “darkest day in our four decades in Britain.”

Smith said “We’re of course very disappointed about the CMA’s decision, but more than that, unfortunately I think it’s bad for Britain. The business community, the investment community and the technology sector around the world have been following this case, and the strong message the CMA has sent is not just to surprise everyone who fully expected this acquisition to be approved, but to send a message that I think will discourage innovation and investment in the United Kingdom.”

Smith’s comments were made in an interview with the BBC’s Wake up to Money program, with Smith pointing out that Microsoft has been in the UK for 40 years, and says that in time they’ve “played a vital role” in the country. However, he called the CMA’s decision to stop the deal from going ahead due to concerns with Cloud Gaming “our darkest day in our four decades in Britain. 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.”

In response, CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell told the BBC that she didn’t agree with Smith’s comments, saying that “This decision shows actually how important it is to support competition in the UK and that the UK is absolutely open for business. We want to create an environment where a whole host of different companies can compete effectively, can grow and innovate.”

Yesterday’s ruling by the CMA means that the deal cannot currently go ahead globally. The CMA said it came to the decision after reviewing the evidence amidst “concerns the deal would alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market, leading to reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the years to come.”

Both Activision and Microsoft have said they will appeal the decision, so at the moment it appears all involved are at a stalemate for the time being. Should the deal have gone through, it would’ve seen Microsoft get series like Call of Duty, Overwatch and Diablo amongst many others. For now, the saga rolls on.

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