back to article Microsoft's Activision fight with FTC turned up a Blizzard of docs: Here's your summary

Microsoft's US legal battle to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard continued on Tuesday with courtroom testimony from Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, a company likely to be seriously affected if the deal goes through. The US Federal Trade Commission last December challenged the takeover, arguing that the …

  1. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Seems to me allowing the merger to go forward requires a lot of promises of what they'll do years from now. It's not clear to me what's the advantage to anybody of letting this happen.

    1. Mark #255

      promises, promises

      It reminds me of the scene in Maverick, where Mel Gibson's character sits down at the card table and promises not to win a hand for the first hour (after which, obvs, he wipes the floor)

  2. Snapper


    Given Microsoft's proven business tactics and history, is anyone convinced that games ported to 'rival' platforms to keep the authorities quiet will give the same performance and user experience?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: History

      Remembering the late 80s when the major RDBMS’s had to be ported to the different Unix platforms, a big differentiator in major bids was a vendors place in the porting queue. Would not be surprised if Xbox is always the first in queue and PlayStation last, particularly as MS’s commitment to porting is just “in principle” and not specifically defined.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The EU competition authorities said they would allow the deal, subject to certain guarantees"

    The only guarantee they have is that Borkzilla will, in the end, do whatever it damn well pleases and it will see them in Court if they have the gall to disagree.

    Also, some Borkzillasuit declares no idea for mobile gaming and the decision is to buy Activision ? Does Activision have an extensive mobile gale catalogue ?

    How about making games for mobiles ? Is that not an idea ?

    Oh, right, that's work. You're not too good at that.

  4. ChoHag Silver badge

    > However, Apple and Google clearly recognize the financial and ecosystem importance of gaming and have put policies in place that impair our ability to distribute and operate xCloud via a native application in their mobile stores.

    In a fight in which your main argument is that you need permission to exclude your competitors from your platform?

    Pot, meet kettle.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I love how MS are writing off things they said 3 or 4 years ago in emails as ancient history. Are we expected to believe that their corporate policy has changed so drastically in this short period of time that they no longer think like that, or more importantly won't go back to acting like that in a few more years if this acquisition is allowed to go through?

    Its clear that even if Microsoft do promise that COD and other Activision Blizzard titles will be available other platform for 10 years, they will probably be inferior to the Xbox versions in some way, such as released later than on Xbox, rush buggy ports etc. And as soon as that agreed period is up they will go to being Xbox exclusives.

  6. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Here's a novel idea

    Ban all exclusives after 6-12 months.

    You get the initial sales bump from people who really want to play the game right away... they'll buy the game and maybe the hardware which is often sold as a loss leader anyway. Then after 6-12 months it has to be made available on other platforms.

    Let's go further... and apply the same idea to streaming platforms. I for one am sick and tired of the fractured market we have gone back to... where if you want product A you got to have service J and product B requires service A, product C requires service Z and so forth and so forth.

    It's the reason piracy is once again on the rise after a decade or so of it reducing... I for one stopped pirating windows when W7 came out and have purchased them ever since. I subscribed to Prime & Netflix... but am now considering cancelling them as the content is disappearing and I refuse to pay for additional services... and I honestly cannot be fucked to service hop month to month and remember to cancel one and subscribe to another just to watch a single fucking movie or TV show.... There are plenty of other ways to get the content you want in a manner that doesn't help anyone earn anything.

    We're supposed to have a global market... yet parts of it have become more isolated and expensive due to simple corporate greed... Let's get back to that idea and make all content available to all people on all platforms. Let those platforms decide if they want to license the content and make sure that the providers don't set the prices so high that no one wants to license it.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Here's a novel idea

      As long as you're sensible about who has to do that, and what platforms they need to port to, that should work.

      Not every developer has the resources to port their games to all the various platforms, and you do get times like right now where the market has five mainline consoles, at least three mobile platforms (3DS, iOS, Android), and three desktop OS variants (Linux, Mac, PC).

      (Plus, if you say everything needs to come out on Playstation and Xbox, Nintendo is going to be *pissed*)

      1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Here's a novel idea

        By removing the exclusivity side of the equation, you'd force the industry into adopting compatible standards.... maybe that's the better way to do it.

        I'm all for the 'open pleb' idea of creating a standard for things like argb equipment that was floated recently by level1tech and gamersnexus.... that kind of idea should be used across the board. it helps to eliminate waste and walled gardens, it's good for the consumer

        1. Inkey

          Re: Here's a novel idea

          Thanks i thought i was in danger of becoming jaded and cynical ... (allthough some would say that happend a long time ago ).... or worse a HERITIC

          "removing the exclusivity side of the equation, you'd force the industry into adopting compatible standards"

          ↑ this

          And the other stuff in the previous post

          I dont understand how people just accepted the egregious corporate greed

          beer icon to you sir ....

          1. Killfalcon Silver badge

            Re: Here's a novel idea

            Historically, there are good hardware architecture reasons for those differences. I'm not sure how true that is these days, mind, but that's how it started - different consoles being pure hardware products, with different chipsets, and not enough overhead (in RAM, CPU cycles, etc) to have an abstraction layer to spare. A Sega Megadrive and a Super Nintendo are fundamentally different machines!

            You can make more efficient code do more interesting things if you can get to the bare metal. Shadow of the Colossus famously had custom shaders that relied on undocumented quirks of the PS2's chipset (which meant it wasn't emulatable by the PS3, and wasn't remade until the PS4 era).

            These days, when damn near everything is running in Unreal Engine, though...

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Here's a novel idea

      The FTC could go full antitrust and force MS to divest its entire games business, office applications etc. leaving MS to choose to be in only one market…

      1. kat_bg

        Re: Here's a novel idea

        And why should they do that? That it like saying that Sony should choose the hardware or the software part of their business.

  7. Wade Burchette

    Same old Microsoft

    A leopard can't change his spots and Microsoft has not changed who they are. From the beginning, they bought or copied someone else's idea. MS-DOS -- bought from Seattle Computer Company. Windows -- stole the idea from Apple, who licensed it from Xerox. Word -- stole the idea from Wordperfect. Internet Explorer -- stole the idea from Netscape. DirectX -- stole the idea from OpenGL. Zune -- stole the idea from Apple. Windows Phone -- stole the idea from Apple and Google. And so on.

    Embrace, extend, extinguish. The Simpsons made a joke about Bill Gates -- "Buy him out, boys!" The joke rings true because that is who Microsoft has always been. Microsoft does not want Activision because they care about us; they want it to hurt the competition.

    "Redmond also talks about developing custom silicon to ensure that Windows and Surface remain competitive."

    Gee, I wonder where Microsoft got the idea from? Oh yeah, Apple again with their custom silicon. The only good original idea Microsoft had was the start button, and they have doing their best to ruin that since Windows 8. The Ribbon ... please. That idea should have been cast in the fires of Mordor before it was ever introduced in Office 2007. Windows 8. That interface was good on phones/tablets, but beyond dumb for large interfaces like laptops and desktops.

    Microsoft hasn't changed. Even if they make a written guarantee, expect them to quickly that promise and dare you to do something about it.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Same old Microsoft

      I would argue they both stole the GUI from Xerox. They both got a look, both took the idea and made their own versions.

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Same old Microsoft

        As I recall Xerox were initially limited by a consent decree from using their photocopier business to expand into other Tech areas, so they were not able to take full advantage of the PARC Alto work. When their computer was commercially available it cost $60-100,000.

        Apple were granted access to the GUI by Xerox in exchange for (the offer to buy?) $1,000,000 of pre IPO shares. I believe that Xerox sold them before the stock hit the big time. A very rough calculation is that Xerox's original investment would be worth over $1 billion today (if gains and dividends not reinvested). The shares are now worth about 300 times that original price allowing for inflation - In addition the yearly dividend is now >$3 million, or roughly the value allowing for inflation of the original investment.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Same old Microsoft

      I'm not defending Microsoft, but some of your history is rather suspect. I don't see how the original Word (and I had a copy of the demo they shipped tipped into PC Magazine, as well as Word 1.0 for DOS) was any more "stolen" from WordPerfect than it was from Wordstar or Volkswriter or Multiplan or any of the other word-processing packages of the era (not to mention dedicated systems like the DisplayWriter). Word was then just a middling word processor, harder to use than the simple competitors (such as Volkswriter) and not nearly as capable as WordPerfect. (Today, of course, it's an astoundingly obnoxious and flawed word processor.)

      Internet Explorer started as the Spyglass browser, which Microsoft simply licensed and shipped unchanged other than branding as part of Plus. Spyglass was simply a commercial version of NCSA Mosaic. So Microsoft didn't "steal the idea", particularly not from Netscape, which was founded all of one month before Spyglass licensed the Mosaic code from NCSA. (Spyglass had been around for a few years by then, and existed primarily to commercialize tech from NCSA.) Internet Explorer was a purchase, like MS DOS and PowerPoint (from Forethought).

      And as for DirectX and OpenGL, Quicktime predates both of them (though of course pre-Open plain old GL had been a mainstay of Irix systems for a while, and was available on some other systems, such as RS/6000s with certain graphics adapters). There were a ton of graphics APIs in the '80s and '90s. OpenGL wasn't particularly original itself.

      Zune? Lots of MP3 players; Apple just figured out how to sell them to the mass market (using annoying ads and pitching them as class markers, per usual). Smartphones? Same deal. Saying Microsoft stole the idea of a smartphone from Apple is like saying GM stole the idea of an automobile from Ford.

    3. jpennycook

      Re: "Windows Phone -- stole the idea from Apple and Google."

      When Microsoft were first making operating systems for phones, Apple wasn't in the market, and I'm not sure that Android had caught on. I think there was a court case against Microsoft that they had allegedly blocked the ability for EPOC and Symbian-based devices from syncing with Windows PCs which should give you an idea of who Microsoft were competing with.

  8. Snowy Silver badge


    are they any better than Microsoft?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Sony

      Yes, because they can’t out spend Microsoft…

      1. kat_bg

        Re: Sony

        Yet, they can buy rival gaming houses, that incidentally provide exclusives for PS but not for Xbox?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Sony

          Being better than MS is a low hurdle; doesn’t mean they aren’t bad, just not as bad as MS.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Sony

          Gaming houses who at the time were only making PS1 or PS2 games.

          Naughty Dog and Guerilla are exclusive as owned by them but chose to be bought, also both were PS 3rd party before.

          Insomniac still do mobile and one Xbox game

          Bungie are multi plat

          Sony have not bought up huge studios and scrapped XBox dev.

          Unlike Starfield.

    2. Inkey

      Re: Sony

      Sony are japanese and if you knew how they got fucked to stop the nasdek form imploding as in gone forever you would understand them better...

      If you have a sony phone they give you the nfo to help you root it and the crypto to still use drm....

      Try truly owning any thing the big five have released in the past 5 years....

      1. Tim99 Silver badge
        1. Killfalcon Silver badge

          Re: Sony

          God, that was seventeen years ago? I feel old.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Sony

            That was only 17 years ago? I would have ballparked it around the turn of the century.

  9. steviebuk Silver badge

    The reason I'd like to retired but can never

    I don't have enough money or a big enough pension but if I could, I think I'd retire from IT now. Getting sick of the push to the cloud and if this is how its going to be in the near feature then I hate to see how the Windows experience is going to go. We got Windows 11 pushed to us due to a "mistake" and I suspect we'd end up with this shit too:

    "build on Windows 365 to enable a full Windows operating system streamed from the cloud to any device"

  10. Vader

    Microsoft has a history of fouling up companies it takes over look at Skype. Most of the games are mostly the same first person shooting ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      wasn't Skype based on the infamous P2P app Kazaa?

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