Microsoft has won the battle in the US to buy Activision Blizzard

A California judge has allowed Microsoft to close its deal to buy Activision Blizzard, reports The Verge.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust case against Microsoft is still ongoing, but Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley heard arguments from both sides and decided to reject the regulator’s request for a preliminary injunction.

“Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history. It deserves scrutiny. That scrutiny has paid off: Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox. It made an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Switch. And it entered several agreements to for the first time bring Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services,” the decision reads.

The judge found that the FTC had not shown that the merger would substantially lessen competition in the industry.

“To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED,” said the judge’s decision.

After this decision, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that the company is “grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution,” he noted.

The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, also reacted to the decision. He drew attention to the benefits of the merger.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, on the other hand, is convinced that the deal will promote competition.

“Our merger will benefit consumers and employees,” he said. “It will enable competition rather than allow entrenched market leaders to continue to dominate our rapidly growing industry.”

But the FTC warned that the commission is still planning the next step.

“We are disappointed in this outcome given the clear threat this merger poses to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles. In the coming days we’ll be announcing our next step to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers,” said FTC representative Douglas Farrar.

We will remind that the trade commission sought to obtain a court injunction on the merger from a US federal district court just weeks before the deal’s July 18 deadline.