The latest court documents show that Microsoft criticized Sony for not testifying in person in the FTC case related to the Activision Blizzard acquisition.
Last week, a U.S. judge temporarily blocked Microsoft’s deal for Activision Blizzard while the court considered a preliminary injunction. The court will hold a pre-trial hearing on the preliminary injunction later today, with full hearings tomorrow and June 29.
A new court filing reveals the witnesses the FTC and Microsoft/Activision-Blizzard will call at a hearing. The document includes the names of several key executives from various parties, including NVIDIA’s Phil Eisler, Bethesda’s Pete Hines, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox head Phil Spencer, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood, as well as Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Playstation boss Jim Ryan.
While most witnesses will testify in person, several will appear via video, including Sony SIE’s Jim Ryan.
“Plaintiffs are asking Mr. Ryan to testify by video to answer questions about relevant antitrust markets, gaming industry competition, competition in the high performance and broader gaming console markets, cloud gaming, game subscription services, the impact of the proposed acquisition, and his previous testimony on any subject”, “Defendant asked Mr. Ryan to testify by video to answer questions about the gaming industry, including console gaming, subscription gaming, cloud gaming, mobile gaming; negotiations between Sony and Xbox to distribute Activision content, and his previous any subject that has ever testified”. “Plaintiff’s Examination (both direct and cross) 45 minutes. Defendant’s Examination (both direct and cross) 60 minutes.”
Interestingly, in a statement to The Verge and other outlets, a Microsoft spokesperson directly blasted Jim Ryan for not being in person to testify.
“Unlike Sony, our top executives will be in court to answer any questions about our business strategy,” said David Cuddy, general manager of public affairs at Microsoft. The more closely the case is studied, the clearer it becomes.”
It’s worth noting that Ryan isn’t the only witness refusing to testify in person — NVIDIA’s Phil Eisler and Jeff Fisher and Nintendo’s Steve Singer will also testify via video.
It is worth mentioning that Microsoft’s plan to acquire Activision Blizzard has been opposed and obstructed by many parties. In addition to the review and litigation by the UK government and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a group of players have also filed lawsuits in court on antitrust grounds. Today, lawyers for these players claim that they have obtained an internal Microsoft email that proves that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is to completely kill Sony PlayStation.
For now, though, the main focus will be on the battle between Microsoft and the FTC. It was previously reported that earlier this month, the FTC got its wish and obtained a temporary injunction issued by the court, preventing Microsoft from completing the acquisition of Activision Blizzard before July 18. This week, Microsoft and the FTC will face off in court, with the administration hoping to impose a preliminary injunction on the deal. According to Axios, the list of witnesses provided by both parties includes Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Sony PlayStation chief Jim Ryan, Bethesda publishing chief Pete Hines, Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick et al.