Before the deal’s completion late last year, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had initially moved to block Microsoft’s acquisition.
Speaking at the time, Microsoft’s president said the decision was “bad for Britain”, and that if the UK wants to make it a place “where technology is not only going to flourish, but be created”, then “it needs to look hard at the role of the CMA and the regulatory structure”.
Smith added: “There’s a clear message here – the European Union is a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom.”
The exec said he believed the UK regulator had been “tough and fair” by forcing Microsoft to restructure its deal, giving up cloud gaming rights in the UK and other markets.
“I certainly learned a lot personally,” he said. “I wouldn’t step back necessarily from all of the concerns I raised when I talked way back in April, but I might choose slightly different words to make my point.”
The exec continued: “The CMA held to a tough standard and I respect that. In my view it was tough and fair,” added Smith. “It pushed Microsoft to change the acquisition that we had proposed for Activision Blizzard, to spin out certain rights that the CMA was concerned about with respect to cloud gaming.”
Following more than a year of regulatory scrutiny, Microsoft’s deal with the CMA ultimately allowed its Activision Blizzard acquisition to complete last October.
It also established a major presence in mobile gaming with the addition of Candy Crush maker King.