FTC Reveals Concerns About Xbox's Recent Batch Of Employee Layoffs

Update: Microsoft has since responded to this, stating that "Activision was already planning on eliminating a significant number of jobs while still operating as an independent company." Here's an excerpt from the latest court filing:

"Consistent with broader trends in the gaming industry, Activision was already planning on eliminating a significant number of jobs while still operating as an independent company. The recent announcement thus cannot be attributed fully to the merger. More important, Microsoft continues fully to stand behind its representations to this Court."

Original story: Back in late January, it was revealed that Microsoft was cutting 1,900 jobs across various Xbox teams, including at Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, and now the FTC has indicated its concerns about this decision.

The Federal Trade Commission is still trying to fight Xbox's purchase of Activision Blizzard, and the regulator says these layoffs contradict what Microsoft has been saying as part of its court representations in the past.

Here's just a sample of what the FTC had to say about this move in a court filing this week:

"Microsoft’s recently-reported plan to eliminate 1,900 jobs in its video game division, including in its newly-acquired Activision unit, contradicts the foregoing representations it made to this Court.

Specifically, Microsoft reportedly has stated that the layoffs were part of an “execution plan” that would reduce “areas of overlap” between Microsoft and Activision, which is inconsistent with Microsoft’s suggestion to this Court that the two companies will operate independently post-merger."

Moreover, the reported elimination of thousands of jobs undermines the FTC’s ability to order effective relief should the pending administrative proceeding result in a determination that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act."

It still remains to be seen what will happen in this battle between Microsoft and the FTC moving forward, but obviously the Commission was initially unsuccessful in blocking the Activision Blizzard acquisition late last year.

The FTC definitely still seems committed to the cause though, so the battle appears far from over. In any case, we'll keep you up to date with the major news coming out of this... hopefully it won't be quite as frequent as it was in 2023!

[source storage.courtlistener.com, via theverge.com]