Microsoft subpoenas Sony as part of FTC Activision case

Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard in January 2022 in a deal that has faced ongoing controversy

Microsoft has served Sony Interactive Entertainment with a subpoena as it prepares to face a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit.

According to a new court filing, the Xbox maker served the subpoena on January 17, with a final deadline – following an extension request – of January 27 for Sony to respond.

Microsoft is reportedly seeking details about PlayStation‘s game production pipeline, according to Video Games Chronicle, with Microsoft believing it may be relevant as it prepares a defence.

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“Negotiations between SIE and Microsoft as to the scope of SIE’s production and a discovery schedule are ongoing,” the filing reads.

Microsoft
A Microsoft sign is displayed in a branch on December 7, 2022 in New York City. (CREDIT: Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress)

Back in December, the FTC announced plans to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft‘s proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard in January 2022 in a deal that was estimated to cost approximately £50billion ($68billion USD). The move faced extensive criticism, with numerous regulatory bodies voicing their concerns over the future of Call Of Duty in particular.

Microsoft and Activision responded to the FTC’s complaint that the “acquisition of a single game by the third-place console manufacturer cannot upend a highly competitive industry”.

“That is particularly so when the manufacturer has made clear it will not withhold the game.

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“The fact that Xbox’s dominant competitor has thus far refused to accept Xbox’s proposal does not justify blocking a transaction that will benefit consumers. Giving consumers high-quality content in more ways and at lower prices is what the antitrust laws are supposed to promote, not prevent.”

Microsoft also announced in December that it had offered Sony a deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years, shared in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal titled: “Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard Acquisition Is Good for Gamers.”

Call Of Duty
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. CREDIT: Activision Blizzard

The FTC however said this month that there had been no “substantive” settlement regarding the acquisition.

Last week it was revealed that Microsoft plans to lay off 10,000 employees, which also appeared to threaten the company’s plan to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer addressed the “painful” layoffs in a company-wide email, describing it as a “challenging moment in our business”.

Microsoft also faced criticism this week for hosting a private Sting concert for executives the night before the mass layoffs.

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