Microsoft is still reeling from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to block its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. In a new interview, Microsoft president Brad Smith attacked the CMA’s move, saying it was bad for Britain.
I The BBC Interviewed, Smith said:
“This does more to shake our confidence in the future of opportunities to grow technology businesses in the UK than we have ever faced before,” he said. “People are surprised, people are disappointed, and people’s confidence in technology in the UK has been badly shaken. There is a clear message – the EU is a more attractive place to start a business than the UK.”
CMA blocked the deal because it felt that such a purchase would give Microsoft a huge advantage in the small but growing cloud gaming market and reduce competition in that market. In the same BBC interview, CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell defended the regulator’s move:
“I think this decision really shows how important it is to support competition in the UK and that the UK is absolutely open for business.” “We want to create an environment where a whole host of different companies can effectively compete, grow and innovate.”
Microsoft has already said it will appeal the CMA’s decision, but that could take months to complete. Even if the appeal overturns the regulator’s decision, it means the merger will be sent back to the CMA for a second decision.