Microsoft claims blocking Activision deal "bad for Britain"

Microsoft claims blocking Activision deal "bad for Britain"

The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, has come out swinging at the UK's Competition and Markets Authority.

Speaking to the BBC's Wake Up To Moneyas reported by – the executive said that the Big M's faith in the UK had been shaken, saying that blocking the company's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is bad for the country.

"I think it's bad for Britain," Smith said. "The business community, the investment community and the technology sector around the world have been following this case. And the strong message that the CMA has sent, is not just to surprise everyone who fully expected this acquisition to be approved, but to send a message that will discourage innovation and investment in the United Kingdom. And I think in that sense the impact of this decision is far broader than on Microsoft or this acquisition alone."

He continued: "Microsoft has been in the United Kingdom for 40 years and we play a vital role, not just supporting businesses and non-profits but even defending the nation from cyber-security threats. But this decision, I have to say, is probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain. It does more than shake our confidence in the future of the opportunity to grow a technology business in Britain than we've ever confronted before."

Smith added that he believed the CMA had a "flawed understanding" of what cloud streaming is.

"It's all about a potential concern about what could become the cloud streaming of games, like you see the streaming of movies on a network like Netflix," Smith said.

"But this business is so small today, that Microsoft can't even stream games to more than 5,000 people at a time in the entirety of the United Kingdom. So for regulators to step in and seek to torpedo a $68 billion global traction out of a concern of a part of the business that is so small, and to reject so may proposals to try and address their concern, it leaves people worried and it leaves people thinking that, actually, the process in Brussels worked far better than what we are now address in London."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.