PlayStation accuses Microsoft of “harassment” in court

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Screenshot: Phoenix Wright (PS4)

The is struggling to acquire Microsoft proposed a $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard over the line they don’t just play with government guards and to the public, but also in courtrooms. And in one of those battlegrounds, Microsoft is suing rival Sony for what the latter says is “blatant harassment.”

Via Worthy’ newslettera series of court documents have been filed over the past two weeks detailing some of the legal battles currently taking place between Microsoft, which wants to complete the blockbuster deal, and Sony, which is one of several companies and organizations you absolutely do not want this to happen.

These particular filings relate to Sony’s efforts to fight the proposed sale, and that as part of its defense Microsoft has the right to “discovery”, which basically just allows them to get a bunch of documents and emails from some Sony executives. Both companies have been haggling over the number of executives involved and the scope of the discovery for years, but things took a turn earlier this month when Microsoft blamed Sony for the first stalland then not provide all the information they may need:

Sony Interactive Entertainment (“SIE”)—whose gaming business has dwarfed the Xbox for 20 years—is not an ordinary third party in this action. At great expense and over a long period of time, SIE has deployed delegations of executives, large teams of outside lawyers and expensive economists to persuade regulators here and around the world to block Microsoft Corp.

(“Microsoft’s”) proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. SIE’s efforts are paying off: The FTC’s complaint in this action is replete with allegations about the effect the deal will have on SIE’s business. This case involves both SIE and Xbox and Activision. Therefore, timely discovery by SIE is critical to Microsoft’s defense.

Although SIE’s motion for an extension of time disputes the scope of the subpoena and the length of extensions already granted to respond to that subpoena, Microsoft has already told SIE that it would consent to a fourth extension of time for the negotiating issues related to the scope of the subpoena requests. However, Microsoft believes that court intervention is now required on one issue: whether SIE will collect and produce documents from certain custodians.

In response, Sony said it had not provided all of the information Microsoft requested because it was asked way too much, including things like access to internal performance reviews, which Sony says “is clear harassment” and that “even in employment cases courts require a specific showing of relevance before requiring production of personnel files.”

Judge D. Michael Chappell agreed with Sony, saying the company “has shown good cause for the relief sought” and agreeing that the scope and depth of Microsoft’s requests were excessive.

This is all of little interest, I know, but I mention it mostly so we can just relate to both Microsoft and Sony’s moves, which are full of self-deprecation, like Microsoft saying that the PlayStation’s success has “dwarfed the Xbox by 20 years,” along with some pretty funny words in Sony’s filing, like how they say the subpoena Microsoft’s was, like, “really huge.”

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