Microsoft and the UK's Competition Markets Authority met online today to figure out when the appeal hearing of the CMA's decision to block Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard would take place.
The case management conference, organized by the UK Competiton Appeals Tribunal, was presided over by the Honourable Mr Justice Marcus Smith. Eurogamer reports that Microsoft wanted to get the hearing held for June while the CMA wanted to push it back for sometime later in 2023. Ultimately, Justice Marcus Smith decided to tentatively set a date for the hearing on July 24.
The hearing is expected to take about six days, which is actually longer than Microsoft's request for the hearing to last just four days. According to Eurogamer, this will allow for both Microsoft and the CMA to offer longer oral arguments.
Before July 24, the Competition Appeals Tribunal will hold a second case management conference on June 12. This event will go over topics related to "factual and expert evidence" in this case. It's also possible that during these discussions, the dates for the actual hearing could be adjourned.
The CMA rejected Microsoft's plan to buy Activision Blizzard in late April. The CMA claimed such a deal would give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the growing cloud gaming business in the UK. Microsoft was not happy with this move, and its president Brad Smith said at the time that the move was "bad for Britain".
Even if Justice Smith does decide to rule in Microsoft's favor, the next move will still be made by the CMA. The group will have to go back and make another decision on this planned purchase of Activision Blizzard. All of this means that, even if it does happen, Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard may not officially close for at least several months.