What a difference a deal makes!

1 min read

What a difference a deal makes indeed. A few months after criticising the UK as being "bad for business", Microsoft President, Brad Smith as rowed back on his criticisms.

His overly negative take on the UK came after the Competition and Markets Authority initially blocked the company’s planned takeover of the gaming giant Activision Blizzard.

At the time, smarting from the decision, Smith said people's confidence in the UK had been "severely shaken".

Now that decision is deemed “tough and fair”, following the approval of the deal.

Speaking to the BBC he said that the initial decision had pushed Microsoft to change the acquisition it had proposed for Activision Blizzard, spinning out certain rights that the CMA had raised as concerns with respect to cloud gaming.

The CMA said that the acquisition would reduce innovation and mean less choice for consumers in the fast-growing cloud gaming market.

When the deal was originally rejected Smith suggested it made the European Union a more attractive place to do business in what was seen, at the time, as a major blow to the UK government’s efforts to portray the UK as a technological powerhouse.

Since then, the deal has been passed, following a restructured offer for the Activision, and Smith has called the CMA’s approach ‘pragmatic’ and ‘good for everyone’.

He seems to have forgotten the criticisms levelled at Microsoft by the head of the CMA, Sarah Cardell, who said in October that, “Businesses and their advisors should be in no doubt that the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA."

According to Cardell, "Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn't work. Dragging out proceedings in this way only wastes time and money."

Good on the CMA for standing its ground and forcing Microsoft to reconsider its offer.