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FTC Challenges Microsoft’s Gaming Layoffs in Antitrust Trial Fallout

 |  February 7, 2024

In a latest twist to the ongoing saga surrounding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has lodged a complaint regarding the tech giant’s recent wave of layoffs in the gaming sector. The FTC asserts that these layoffs, totaling 1,900 job cuts, directly contradict Microsoft’s assurances made during the antitrust trial.

The FTC’s objection was formally submitted in a letter to a US federal appeals court, a document that was brought to light earlier today by The Verge. In this letter, the FTC calls into question Microsoft’s commitment to maintaining the independence of the two entities post-merger, an issue that was pivotal during the antitrust proceedings.

During the trial, Microsoft had assured the court that the merged company would be structured and operated in a manner that would facilitate divestiture of any or all of Activision’s businesses, should such action be deemed necessary. However, the FTC argues that the recent layoffs stand in stark contrast to these promises, undermining the notion of operational independence.

Read more: FTC To Appeal Decision Allowing Microsoft’s Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

The heart of the FTC’s contention lies in Microsoft’s justification for the layoffs, which the company stated were aimed at eliminating areas of overlap between its existing operations and those of Activision. The FTC deems this explanation inconsistent with Microsoft’s earlier claims of post-merger autonomy for the two companies.

The letter filed by the FTC underscores the regulatory body’s concern over potential anticompetitive practices arising from the merger. By challenging Microsoft’s actions in the wake of the acquisition, the FTC aims to hold the tech giant accountable for upholding the commitments made during the antitrust trial.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a deal worth a staggering $68.7 billion, has been under intense scrutiny from both regulators and industry observers since it was announced. The consolidation of two major players in the gaming industry has raised concerns about market concentration and the potential for monopolistic behavior.

The FTC’s complaint adds another layer of complexity to an already contentious legal battle, signaling that the fallout from the antitrust trial is far from over.

Source: The Verge