Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) inches up in pre trading session on Friday as the corporation now has a strongly urging the US Federal Trade Commission for a settlement to permit the software giant’s $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc. thanks to the newly discovered backing for organized labor.
After Microsoft announced that it will recognize employees who chose to organize at video game producer Activision, the Communications Workers of America came to the defense of one of the greatest names in technology. The union, which speaks for over 500,000 workers in the technology, media, education, and telecommunications sectors, has hailed the agreement as a victory for organized labor in a sector that has historically been hostile to it.
The labor neutrality agreement between Microsoft and the CWA, according to CWA Chief of Staff Jody Calemine, establishes a standard for businesses looking to combine and should be acknowledged by the Biden administration, which has positioned itself as adamantly pro-union. It was “a major wasted opportunity to actually give employees a place at the table when it comes to mergers and acquisitions,” Calemine said of the FTC’s decision to seek to stop the merger last month.
Calemine said in an interview that they are hopeful that the FTC would eventually find a way to resolve its issues with Microsoft about this deal. There is still a potential that they will resolve this and the transaction will eventually go through.
The quest for a settlement is a long shot with an FTC whose chair, Lina Khan, has publicly said she’s not interested in alleged monopolies promising to be good monopolies. FTC lawyer James Weingarten told a judge Tuesday that the agency is “always open to any settlement proposal,” but that “there are no substantive discussions at this time” with Microsoft.
Microsoft, maker of the Xbox console, has sought to diffuse complaints from competitor Sony Group Corp. by promising to make Activision’s Call of Duty game available on Sony’s PlayStation for 10 years. But a person familiar with the FTC’s case said that pledge does little to remedy the alleged anticompetitive nature of the deal in all relevant markets, including the mobile and cloud gaming areas that are emerging frontiers in the industry.
FTC spokesperson Peter Kaplan deferred to the agency’s public statements. A Microsoft spokesperson pointed to the company’s public statements as well.
Microsoft President Brad Smith told investors last month that while he’s confident in its case before the FTC’s administrative judge, the company is committed to “offering constructive steps to address” concerns from antitrust authorities and competitors.
“We’ll meet with Sony any time they want to meet, because we’re all about finding solutions,” Smith said in the Dec. 13 call. He also promised to “continue to meet with regulators elsewhere around the world,” as European authorities evaluate the deal.