Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is being scrutinized by the regulators of several countries. The US, the UK, and the European Union are set to decide on whether to clear or block the deal.
Both UK and EU regulators recently begun a more thorough investigation into the matter. The EU Commission has until March 23, 2023, to make a decision on the merger.
However, the EU Commission recently came under fire when one of its senior staff made comments about the deal on social media. Supporters of the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger have accused the commission of having biases toward Sony.
Ricardo Cardoso, the Deputy Head of Unit Interinstitutional & Outreach recently tweeted that the "Commission is working to ensure that you will still be able to play Call of Duty on other consoles (including my Playstation)." Fans have accused Cardoso of biases toward Sony as he owns a PlayStation console.
The Commission is working to ensure that you will still be able to play Call of Duty on other consoles (including my Playstation). Also on our to do list: update stock pictures. These gamers have wired controllers whereas Xbox and Playstation have wireless ones since about 2006! https://t.co/Gfvsi3rKXD
— Ricardo Cardoso (@RCardosoEU) November 8, 2022
The tweet was in-line with the statement by the EU Commission's probe of the Microsoft and Activision merger. Fans perceived a bias since the tweet included the phrase "including my Playstation".
Cardoso tweeted another statement a few days later amidst the backlash from his earlier post. "To clarify: I am not involved in the assessment of the merger and don't even work in the department dealing with mergers. As is clear from my profile my comments are personal and not a Commission position, whose decision will be taken on the basis of the facts and the law," the senior staff member said.
The European Commission also issued a statement to Tweaktown the senior staff member isn't involved in the decision-making process of the merger.
"Mr. Cardoso works in the Director General for the Internal Market and not in the Directorate General for Competition," the statement reads. "Mr. Cardoso is not involved in the assessment of this transaction. Furthermore, as indicated clearly in his Twitter profile, he tweets in a personal capacity."
The European Commission moved to "phase II" of its investigation into the deal. The commission cites concerns regarding competition not only in consoles but also for other PC makers.
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer recently commented on the heavier scrutiny saying that it is "fair" and "warranted".
"I would say the discussions have been very fair and honest. It is a big acquisition, there’s no doubt. Microsoft in its role in the tech industry, is a large tech company, and I do think the discussion around an acquisition of this size is warranted, and I’ve appreciated the time to go spend," Spencer said during a Wall Street Journal Tech Live event.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also set to rule on the merger this month.