Microsoft Buyout UK
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In a dramatic twist that we frankly never saw coming, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has blocked Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard after months of investigations and deliberations.

Microsoft's industry-shaking $69 billion buyout of the colossal publisher has, predictably, been the subject of much discussion. Following on from reports in March that the CMA was no longer concerned about Microsoft's deal — essentially saying that it wouldn't have a negative impact on the industry — this block comes as a huge surprise. In fact, analysts were fully expecting the CMA to give the Xbox maker the greenlight today.

But here we are, with the CMA dealing a significant blow to Microsoft's plans. The Redmond-based company will, of course, appeal against the decision — but for a move that was supposed to go quite smoothly up until just minutes ago (at the time of writing this article), this is a real setback for Microsoft.

Here's the official ruling from the CMA, in tweet form:

Indeed, it looks like the block has been made on behalf of concerns over cloud gaming — another twist we didn't see coming. The CMA's report says: "Microsoft’s solution had significant shortcomings and would require regulatory oversight by CMA." It continues: "Cloud gaming needs a free, competitive market to drive innovation and choice."

The CMA essentially argues that Microsoft already has a strong hold on the cloud gaming space, and that the Activision Blizzard buyout would push its position too far, damaging potential competition and industry growth.

"Allowing Microsoft to take such a strong position in the cloud gaming market just as it begins to grow rapidly would risk undermining the innovation that is crucial to the development of these opportunities," it writes.

The tech giant's acquisition is also being scrutinised by the US Federal Trade Commission and the EU's European Commission — neither of which has come to a definitive ruling yet. It'll be interesting to see whether the UK's stance affects the thinking of these other organisations.

Naturally, this is all positive news for PlayStation, as Sony has been battling against the acquisition since its initial announcement, trying to persuade the likes of the CMA that the buyout would be unhealthy for the industry, and for consumers.

Did you see this coming? Pick your jaw off the floor in the comments section below.

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