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Microsoft Lays Off 1,900 Activision Blizzard and Xbox Employees, Blizzard President and Chief Design Officer Are Also Leaving

The Verge has obtained an internal memo from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer that can confirm Microsoft is laying off 1,900 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Shares a Goodbye Note to Employees and Praises Microsoft Ahead of His Leave on December 29: “You Could Not...

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has sent an email to employees thanking them for their work ahead of his last day at the company, which is apparently set for December 29.

“Reprehensible”: Microsoft, EA, Activision Blizzard, and More Sued for Allegedly Enabling Gaming Addiction

Can't seem to put Diablo or Call of Duty down? For some, it's just a matter of shutting that gaming PC or Xbox off, while for others, it's a signal to lawyer up.

Phil Spencer Confirms Activision Blizzard Titles Won’t Reach Xbox Game Pass Until 2024: “The Regulatory Process Took So Long”

Still dreaming about playing Diablo IV or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III this holiday for as low as $9.99? It may be finally time to give that up, as Xbox head Phil Spencer has confirmed that Activision Blizzard titles will not be added to Xbox Game Pass until next year despite Microsoft's successful acquisition of the company, which finally happened last week. Spencer, who shared the news during a recent episode of the Official Xbox Podcast while wearing a Starfield shirt, explained that there was simply no time to do any of that because of all the legal stuff that Xbox had to contend with. "I would love it if there was some kind of secret celebration drop coming in the next couple of weeks. There's not," he said.

Microsoft to Finalize $68.7 Billion Acquisition of Activision Blizzard This Week: Sources

Is Microsoft's extensive saga of trying to acquire Activision Blizzard finally coming to end? Maybe, as sources with The Verge have revealed that the Windows maker is planning to finalize its $68.7 billion proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard as early as this week, around 20 months after it originally announced its intent to take over the publisher and developers behind Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and other major franchises. One of the last hurdles left appears to be a final decision from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, which, despite having blocked the deal earlier this year, started warming up to the concept again after seeing other regulators fall in favor with Microsoft, having concluded that the deal wouldn't be a threat to competition in the games industry. The FTC is also still obsessed about blocking the deal, something that it's been trying to do since December, but apparently in vain.

Activision Blizzard’s Entire Game Catalog Is Headed to Ubisoft+

Ubisoft has announced that it has signed an agreement that gives the Assassin's Creed publisher cloud streaming rights to the complete slate of current Activision Blizzard games, including Call of Duty and more. This deal, which will go into effect once Microsoft finalizes its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, was made to appease the demands of the UK Competition and Markets Authority, according to a blog post that Brad Smith shared today.

New Zealand Grants Microsoft Clearance for Acquiring Activision Blizzard

New Zealand has granted Microsoft clearance to buy Activision Blizzard, bringing the Windows and Xbox maker's pending, $69 billion deal for one of the industry's biggest gaming companies one step closer to finality. According to a media release shared by the island country's Commerce Commission, New Zealand gave the green light because it found the deal was "unlikely" to lessen competition in its respective games market. Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President at Microsoft, echoed the news through Twitter/X, explaining that it continues to work on resolving outstanding concerns, which presumably includes those from the UK's CMA.

Ubisoft CEO Says That the Microsoft Activision Blizzard Deal Is Good for the Mobile Gaming Industry as It Pushes Forward into the Market

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot weighed in on Microsoft's bid to purchase Activision Blizzard by saying that it would be good for the mobile gaming market. The impact on the mobile gaming market has been one of several details under examination by regulators around the world as the deal works its way to completion. Guillemot expressed positive sentiment for it as Ubisoft has already been proceeding with its own partnerships to expand into the mobile gaming industry.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard Agree to Extend Merger Deadline to October 18, 2023

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have announced that they have agreed to extend their merger agreement deadline from July 18, 2023 to October 18, 2023 in order to resolve remaining regulatory concerns. This new agreement would imply that Microsoft has three additional months to finalize its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, but according to a list of new terms, the Windows maker will be paying an even higher termination fee of $3.5 billion in the event that the deal doesn't close by the end of August. A U.S. appeals court recently denied the FTC's second, and probably last, attempt to stop the acquisition.

Microsoft Wins Court Case Against FTC, Allowing It to Move Forward with $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Deal

Who has the better lawyers, Microsoft or the FTC? The former, it seems, as U.S. Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has denied the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction, effectively allowing the Xbox and Windows maker to move forward with its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $69 billion. The FTC has until July 14 to appeal Corley's decision, but Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which objected against the deal in April, is now saying that it's willing to listen to Microsoft's proposals to resolve antitrust concerns.

China Grants Microsoft “Unconditional Clearance” for its $68.7 Billion Bid for Activision Blizzard

The deal is nearly done as China grants Microsoft an "Unconditional clearance" for its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. This latest approval follows another major milestone when it gained support from the European Commission. Microsoft has been succeeding with regulators from around the world and China's approval makes it the 37th country to approve the deal. The deal has yet to pass in the UK where its Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expressed concerns and cited multiple reasons in its final report blocking it. Microsoft is expected to appeal the CMA's decision. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Microsoft has had mixed success in getting support. While some U.S. senators have expressed support, there was enough pressure on the FTC, which filed its own lawsuit at the beginning of 2023, to block the deal. The Register reports hearing is set to happen on August 23 while interested parties have until June 19th to finish submitting their responses to the CMA. A list of some of the countries that have already approved the deal includes Brazil, Chile, Serbia, Japan, the EU, Saudi Arabia, and now China. Other countries still reviewing the deal include South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia.

EU Approves Microsoft’s $68.7 Billion Bid for Activision Blizzard: “Withdrawing Activision Games from PlayStation Would Not Significantly Harm Competition in Console Market”

The European Commission has announced that it has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft in a deal worth $68.7 billion. During its in-depth investigation, the EU determined that the deal wouldn't harm the console market, and while it did find that cloud gaming could be negatively affected—something that led the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to block the deal entirely back in April—the EU is apparently satisfied with the remedies that Microsoft had presented to address those concerns. "Microsoft’s proposals, accepted by the European Commission today, would allow Microsoft to set the terms and conditions for [the cloud] market for the next 10 years," the CMA warned in a series of tweets that it sent out today to confirm that it "stands by its decision."

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