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Video gamers sue Microsoft in US court to stop Activision acquisition

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Microsoft was sued in a US court on Tuesday in a lawsuit alleging the tech company’s $69 billion bid to buy ‘Call of Duty’ maker Activision Blizzard would unlawfully eliminate competition in the industry. of the video game.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, comes about two weeks after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission took the case to an administrative law judge seeking to stop Microsoft, owner of the Xbox console, from carrying out the largest acquisition ever in the video game market. . .

The private suit also seeks an injunction preventing Microsoft from acquiring Activision. Filing on behalf of 10 video game players in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.

The proposed acquisition would give Microsoft “very significant market power in the video game industry,” according to the complaint, “with the ability to lock out competitors, limit production, reduce consumer choice, increase prices and further impede competition”.

A Microsoft representative on Tuesday defended the deal, saying in a statement that it “will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers.” After filing a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “We have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court. »

In a statement, plaintiffs’ attorney in San Francisco, Joseph Savery, said: “As the video game industry continues to grow and develop, it is essential that we protect the market from monopolistic mergers that will harm long-term consumers. »

Private plaintiffs can file antitrust complaints in a US court, even when a case related to a US agency is pending. The acquisition, announced in January, is undergoing antitrust scrutiny in the European Union.

The FTC previously said it had filed a lawsuit to stop “Microsoft from taking control of a leading independent game studio.” The agency said the merger would hurt competition between rival games platforms Nintendo Co Ltd and Nintendo Co Ltd. Sony Group Company.

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