The case between the FTC and Microsoft has come to an end, and the judge chose to reject the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction. In spite of the fact that the Federal Trade Commission is still prosecuting Microsoft for antitrust violations, the judge in the case, Jacqueline Scott Corley, has opted to reject the regulator’s request for an interim order after hearing arguments from both Microsoft and the FTC.
It is very evident that Judge Corley has taken Microsoft’s position about its pledges to maintain Call of Duty on PlayStation and even expand the game’s availability on Nintendo Switch. Judge Corley considered the FTC’s objections to Microsoft’s cloud agreements when making her ruling, despite the fact that the FTC had challenged the agreements.
Head Phil Spencer, who is serving as an important witness in the case, also tweeted his reaction to the event:
1/We're grateful to the court for swiftly deciding in our favor. The evidence showed the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry and the FTC’s claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services, and cloud don’t reflect the realities of the gaming market.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) July 11, 2023
Even though the ruling sides with Microsoft in principle that the Nintendo Switch is a part of the console industry, it also acknowledges that the FTC might properly assert that it is not. In addition, Judge Corley has concurred with the FTC’s assessment that the market for consoles does not include personal computers.
As a result of the judge’s decision, Microsoft is now permitted to terminate its agreement with Activision Blizzard before the deadline of July 18; however, this may only occur if the firm is ready to terminate its operations in the United Kingdom (UK) or if the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is prepared to work out some type of solution.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will now have the opportunity to appeal Judge Corley’s verdict prior to July 14. However, the regulator did not challenge a court’s order allowing Meta to buy Within, so it is possible that it may instead withdraw its action with Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.
If the judge’s judgment is upheld, this will be FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan’s second significant defeat during her tenure at the helm of the regulatory agency. Since Khan was appointed to the position of head of the company in 2021, she has been actively pursuing large technology corporations.