Jun 6, 2023

Opinion: Steve Weber on “Why the FTC Needs to Get It Right on Microsoft’s Bid for ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘World of Warcraft’ Gaming”

From The Messenger

Why the FTC Needs to Get It Right on Microsoft’s Bid for ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘World of Warcraft’ Gaming

By Steven Weber

A common critique of regulators is that they’re one step behind the businesses they regulate, but the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a rare and crucial opportunity to flip the script. The European Commission recently approved Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of gaming giant Activision-Blizzard, just weeks after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opposed it. Now, all eyes are on the FTC, which is currently challenging the transaction, as it seeks public comment on the deal.

The issue has so far been talked about mainly as a distinction between console-based gaming (already a large market) and cloud-based gaming, a fast-growing market. But the acquisition is really about much more than Microsoft acquiring a gaming company. What’s at stake is the future of the trillion-dollar cloud computing market, and the cloud is about nothing less than who wins and loses in the next generation of the digital economy.

The FTC should recognize that the gaming markets are rapidly converging into fundamental cloud services — and take action now to address the future consequences of creating an undue advantage to a combined offering that ties together Microsoft’s Azure cloud and the Activision-Blizzard platform...

Read Professor emeritus Weber's opinion piece here. 

Steven Weber is a professor emeritus of the I School, retiring in 2021. He previously served as the faculty director at the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity (CLTC).

Last updated:

June 8, 2023