Ever since the CMA made its move to block Xbox's Activision Blizzard deal in the UK, we've known that Microsoft would appeal against the decision. The Xbox owner came out proclaiming as much straight after the decision was made, and we now have a tentative timeline for the appeals process.
The UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal is set to be taking on Microsoft's case, with the hearing pencilled in for July 24th. Marcus Smith, the judge handling this process, has scheduled two weeks total for the whole thing to go down - although it's been made clear that the case could be wrapped up in a shorter timeframe (via VGC).
"I’m not expecting it to take the whole of those 10 days but I would like the parties to err on the side of longer rather than shorter oral submissions. It seems to me that that is an excess that we can afford.
There is a tendency—and it’s very much driven by the Tribunal rather than the parties—to cut submissions to shorter than they perhaps ought to be. I want to do the reverse in this case. I want to have the parties understand that we will want to give them every opportunity to unpack the difficulties of this case in oral submissions and for us to have the time to do that."
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have made their feelings known about the CMA's decision right from the get-go, so we're expecting the Xbox owner to come out swinging during the appeals process.
It's worth noting that this appeals date isn't set in stone, and plans could change between now and late July. Also, the deal will have to go back through the CMA's own process after this hearing before a final decision is made.
If their arguments do lead to an overturning of the UK's decision, then all eyes will be on the US FTC to make its call later this year. The EU and many other nations worldwide have already approved Microsoft's acquisition - some with concessions and some unconditionally.