Sony’s recent request to terminate Microsoft’s subpoena has been rejected by the FTC and in turn, has been ordered to reveal its third-party exclusivity deals instead.
In January 2023, Microsoft served Sony with a subpoena as part of its defense-building process ahead of an FTC lawsuit regarding its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This had 45 separate requests for Sony documents which were confidential. It included copies of every third-party exclusivity deals that Sony has and all drafts of and communications regarding SIE President Jim Ryan’s declaration to the FTC.
In an attempt to stop this from becoming a reality, Sony tried to quash the subpoena. Their argument was the number of requests was not relevant to the case or it would cost a lot of money and waste time if this was carried out. The FTC’s chief administrative law judge, however, rejected the attempt and now Sony has to follow their orders.
One of the most notable requests that Sony asked to be quashed was to produce a copy of every content licensing agreement that the company has entered with any third-party publisher between January 1, 2012 and the present. They argued that this information did not have any value at all and that compiling all of these documents would be quite a burden for the company since they will have to review 150,000 contract records.
On Microsoft’s side, the company argued that since it is acquiring Activision Blizzard and since Sony is afraid that the deal might result in Xbox-exclusive titles that could negatively impact competition, then it was important to know all of Sony’s exclusivity deals. It was important to “understand” those deals and their effect on industry competitiveness.
There was one of Sony’s requests that got granted. This condition was to limit the date range of documents being requested.