A federal judge in California struck another blow against President Biden’s activist Federal Trade Commission chief, Lina Khan, by denying a government request to block Microsoft’s pending acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of California’s Northern District said Tuesday the FTC failed to make a compelling case that the $70 billion deal between the two tech giants would harm consumer choice in the video game market. She denied the agency’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the transaction until it could fight the merger at an internal court.
“The FTC has not raised serious questions regarding whether the proposed merger is likely to substantially lessen competition in the console, library subscription services, or cloud gaming markets,” Judge Corley wrote.
Consumer advocates praised the ruling as yet another rebuke for Ms. Khan, one of the more activist FTC leaders in recent memory. A Biden appointee, Ms. Khan has been crusading against what she has called “exploitative,” “collusive,” and “abusive” tactics in the technology industry, using the FTC’s antitrust oversight as her primary bludgeon. Another judge blocked the FTC’s attempt earlier this year to stop Meta from taking over a virtual reality fitness company, Within Unlimited.
“The FTC set out, it seems, to protect the business interests of Sony’s PlayStation, completely ignoring their duty to regulate in the interest of American consumers,” the media director for the Consumer Choice Center, Stephen Kent, said. “President Biden should be taking note of how poor FTC Chair Lina Khan has been at her job, and how far she’s strayed from the mission of consumer protection.”
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