Microsoft was hit on Tuesday in US court with a private consumer lawsuit claiming the tech company’s $69 billion (about Rs 5,71,200) bid to buy Call maker Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard will unlawfully quell competition in the video game industry.
The complaint filed in federal court in California comes approximately two weeks after the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit with an administrative law judge seeking to prevent Microsoft, the owner of Xbox console, from completing the largest-ever acquisition in the video game market.
The separate lawsuit also seeks an order preventing Microsoft from acquiring activated. It was filed on behalf of 10 video game players in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.
The proposed acquisition would give Microsoft “market power far beyond that in the video game industry,” the complaint alleges, “with the ability to deter competitors, limit output, reduce consumer choice, raising prices and further inhibiting competition.”
A representative for Microsoft did not immediately comment on Tuesday. After the FTC filed the lawsuit, Microsoft President Brad Smith said: “We have full confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”
In a statement, San Francisco plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Saveri said: “As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s important that we protect the market from mergers and acquisitions. monopoly will harm consumers in the long run.”
Private plaintiffs can pursue antitrust claims in U.S. courts, even if the relevant U.S. agency lawsuit is pending. The takeover, announced in January, also faces antitrust scrutiny in the European Union.
The FTC previously said it sued to prevent “Microsoft from gaining control of a leading indie game studio.” The agency said the merger would hurt competition between rival game platforms from Nintendo and Sony Corporation.
© Thomson Reuters 2022