A senior executive at Microsoft has criticized the UK regulators’ rejection of the tech company’s acquisition of US video game firm Activision Blizzard, stating that it is detrimental to Britain’s interests. Brad Smith spoke out against the decision, claiming that it demonstrates that the European Union is a better location for business than the UK, in an interview with the BBC.
However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) argued that its role is not to prioritize the benefits of merging firms, and that its decision will ultimately encourage growth. The proposed $68.7bn (£55bn) takeover would grant Microsoft access to popular gaming titles, including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft. On Wednesday, the regulator stated that it was concerned the deal would impede innovation and limit gamers’ choices in the rapidly expanding cloud gaming market, where subscriptions are used to access games online. Microsoft has indicated that the ruling could impact its investment in the UK.
During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith, expressed his disappointment with the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. Smith stated that the ruling was not only disappointing, but also disadvantageous for Britain, emphasizing that “the European Union is a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom.”
The UK government aims to implement a “light-touch” regulatory framework for science and technology to promote economic growth post-Brexit. Smith argued that the CMA’s role and regulatory structure should be examined if the UK intends to attract investment and cultivate an environment where technology can flourish. The CMA’s decision has caused shock, disappointment, and a loss of confidence in technology in the UK, according to Smith.