(London) London sees itself as a post-Brexit champion of technology, but “ the European Union is a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom”, tackled Microsoft President Brad Smith on Thursday in an interview with the BBC, the day after a setback on the merger with Activision.
The British competition authority (CMA) on Wednesday jeopardized the mega-merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard by announcing its decision to block the operation – the two companies announced to appeal in stride.
The CMA’s decision was “the darkest day in (Microsoft’s) four decades in Britain,” Smith told the British channel, “but more than that, unfortunately, I think it’s bad” for the country, he assured.
“It shakes our confidence more than ever in the future opportunities to develop a technology company in Great Britain,” he continued, believing that London “must carefully consider the role of the CMA”.
A spokesperson for Downing Street put these remarks into perspective by noting that the CMA is an “independent” body from the government, and noting that the British gaming market is in good health, “worth 2000 billion pounds in 2021, with more than 80,000 jobs created”.
He added that the UK government continues to “proactively engage with Microsoft and other technology companies.”
The CMA said it feared “reduced innovation and less choice for British gamers” in the growing market for dematerialized games (“cloud gaming”), which offer users the possibility of streaming games, in particular on their mobile phones. .
“We want to create an environment in which a multitude of different companies can compete effectively, grow and innovate”, defended Thursday, also on the BBC, the director general of the CMA Sarah Cardell.
Concerns over the merger aren’t limited to the UK: the EU has also launched an investigation into whether it would make Activision games exclusive to Xbox. The European Commission must decide by May 22.
The operation also raises fears across the Atlantic, where the American competition authority (FTC) launched legal proceedings in December to block it.
The UK market is smaller than the US or EU market, but if the London block is upheld on appeal, it could force Microsoft to back out of the deal.
The CMA had already won its case last year, after an appeal procedure, to force Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to sell the start-up of animated graphics Giphy.