FTC rejects most of Sony's pushback over Microsoft subpoena

Sony has been ordered to turn over documents, including copies of every third-party licensing agreement the company has.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has officially rejected much of Sony’s attempts to push back on requests to turn over a number of key, informative documents as revealed in a new filing from the FTC. The updated filing from the FTC ties back to when Microsoft first served Sony with a subpoena back in January as part of its efforts to defend its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The subpoena included 45 different requests for Sony to provide documents, most notably copies of every third-party licensing agreement the company has. Promptly after receiving the subpoena, Sony submitted a number of arguments as to why it shouldn’t have to do this.

Among the arguments that Sony made against the subpoena request included it being irrelevant, time-consuming, expensive, and “unduly burdensome” to manually sift through over 150,000 contract records. Additionally, Sony made arguments about the task being particularly tedious given that many of the files in question are in Japanese.

Image from the FTC filing showing Sony's request to limit the subpoena being rejected

The FTC rejected the bulk of these arguments, however, and remarked that Sony was unable to “persuasively explain why searching for and producing [these] files presents an undue burden.” The FTC did side with Sony in regards to limiting the date range of the documents it needs to provide, with Sony only required to turn over ones dated from January 1, 2019 to the present date.

The FTC went on to agree with Microsoft’s argument that, given how much of the focus of the Activision Blizzard acquisition centers around whether it would negatively impact competition, it’s important to grasp the full extent of competitor Sony’s own exclusivity deals and “their effect on industry competitiveness.”

For more on the FTC’s rejection of Sony’s requests to avoid providing documents, be sure to read through the full filing. Also brush up on some of our previous coverage including Microsoft walking back its “unconstitutional” accusations against the FTC, and Phil Spencer providing assurance that “Xbox will exist” even if the Activision Blizzard deal fails.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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