Lina Khan’s FTC is bad news. It reminds me of the FTC during the Obama Administration – quick to pick a fight with companies (I know from first-hand experience), without understanding the competitive landscape or how markets work. In this case, Microsoft’s Xbox unit is the platform and Activision is the content publisher that will become part of the Xbox platform should the deal close. How is the marriage of a platform and content automatically a negative for customers and competitors?
- Lina Khan’s FTC allowed Amazon to acquire MGM Studios (Prime Video being the platform, MGM the content layer).
- Lina Khan’s FTC allowed Microsoft to close its acquisition of Bethesda.
- Therefore, what is the problem? Did MSFT exceed the FTC’s acquisition quota in the video game publisher space? For every acquired content publisher (Activision or otherwise), there are multiple new video game publishing firms born each day across the globe.
- I can promise you the FTC has a far too narrow definition of “media”. The FTC’s media scope should widen to include not only the video game platforms and publishing companies, but should also include social media and traditional media, all of which compete with each other for customers’ time and money.
- Amazon Prime, Twitch/Amazon; DisneyPlus; Netflix; WarnerBrosDiscovery; Apple (TV, News, Arcade, iMessage); Facebook, Instagram, Oculus/AR/VR, Messenger; TikTok; Google, YouTube; Snap; legacy television and more all compete with one another. The FTC should lose its myopic lens and work to understand the broader media landscape.
- Read the WSJ’s related article HERE.