Last night, Microsoft filed an amended version of its response to the FTC lawsuit over its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“The FTC has an important mission to protect competition and consumers, and we quickly updated our response to omit language suggesting otherwise based on the constitution,” a Microsoft statement about the changes explains. “We initially put all potential arguments on the table internally and should have dropped these defenses before we filed. We appreciated feedback about these defenses and are engaging directly with those who expressed concerns to make our position clear.”
In the initial filing, Microsoft repeatedly claimed that the FTC’s in-house administrative court was unconstitutional, citing the separation of powers and the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. This argument was based on a November U.S. Supreme Court hearing in a separate case based on the notion that the FTC and its in-house administrative court violate the constitution. But that case has not been decided, and so the new filing omits the argument.
Other than that, Microsoft’s argument—which is both strong and correct—remains unchanged: regulatory approval of the Activision Blizzard acquisition would do nothing to harm the competitive landscape of the videogame industry, and would benefit consumers overall.
The software giant still hopes to answer the FTC’s concerns ahead of an August trial, and it has repeatedly offered to negotiate with the agency to make that happen. But there have been no “substantive talks” yet, according to Reuters.