Gamers are suing Microsoft for buying Activision Blizzard to harm competition, with the court battle starting this Friday.

U.S. gamers filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in a federal district court in San Francisco, California, from the private sector, alleging that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard would harm fair competition and that the court should block it. Microsoft will also reportedly defend its deal in a court hearing this Friday.

U.S. gamers reportedly filed a petition for an injunction, which would block Microsoft’s acquisition. On Friday, federal district court judge Jacqueline Corley will evaluate the application.

If Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard as it wishes, it would be the largest merger ever in the world’s gaming market. Microsoft explained that the acquisition would be beneficial to gamers, and its legal team previously asked Judge Corley to deny the gamer plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction.

Court documents show that Microsoft’s legal team told Judge Colleen on May 5 that the gamer plaintiffs’ claims in the lawsuit were unprecedented and that no court in the history of U.S. law had ever blocked an acquisition deal based on the alleged losses of a few consumers.

The Microsoft acquisition was announced in January 2022 and has since sparked an uproar, with antitrust authorities in the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other countries and regions reviewing the deal.

In April, the U.K. government’s antitrust agency announced that it would veto the deal because Microsoft was unable to address concerns that the gaming industry was “harming competition” in the market.

The U.S. antitrust agency, the Federal Trade Commission, has also launched an investigation into the deal, but has yet to reach a formal conclusion.

Joseph Alioto, a lawyer representing gamers, said gamers have a strong case against the deal.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said the gamers’ complaint contains unfounded and unreasonable statements about the impact of the Microsoft merger on competition in the market.

Under U.S. antitrust law, ordinary consumers are also able to initiate antitrust litigation against a manufacturer’s merger plan, which is very different from antitrust litigation by government agencies.

In March, Judge Colleen dismissed the plaintiffs’ initial version of the complaint as inadequate, and later granted the plaintiffs permission to refile a more solid complaint.

On Monday, plaintiffs’ attorneys asked Judge Currin to first stop the acquisition from moving forward, and then to give the court a serious hearing on the various implications of the Microsoft acquisition.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers said in a court filing that if Microsoft completes its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the damage to competition in the marketplace will be irreparable, and it will be extremely difficult to cancel the acquisition after it is completed.

Author: Hans

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