Microsoft’s Layoffs: 1,900 Activision Blizzard, Xbox Staff Cut Following $69B Merger
Microsoft has announced the layoff of 1,900 employees at both Activision Blizzard and Xbox, marking a significant development in the aftermath of the tech giant’s $69 billion acquisition of the gaming powerhouse. The cuts, amounting to around 8% of Microsoft Gaming division, have stirred controversy and raised questions about the potential antitrust implications of the merger, reported Reuters.
The decision to let go of employees comes as a continuation of last year’s widespread tech layoffs, extending into the first weeks of 2024. According to a report by The Verge, Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s gaming division, outlined the details in an internal memo.
Activision Blizzard is expected to bear the brunt of the cuts, with Blizzard President Mike Ybarra and Chief Design Officer Allen Adham also departing the company. Additionally, a highly-anticipated survival game by Blizzard has been canceled, adding to the repercussions of the layoffs.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard last year was aimed at bolstering its position in the highly competitive videogaming market, directly challenging industry leader Sony. However, the subsequent layoffs have sparked concerns about potential antitrust violations.
The aftermath of the layoffs at Microsoft and other major tech firms is indicative of a broader trend within the industry. In recent weeks, Alphabet, Amazon.com, and ebay have also implemented large-scale layoffs as part of a cost-cutting strategy to enhance profitability. Layoffs.fyi reports that more than 21,000 workers have been let go across 76 tech companies in January alone, painting a concerning picture for the industry’s workforce.
The tech sector witnessed a staggering 168,032 job cuts in 2023, with Challenger, Gray and Christmas reporting that it accounted for the highest number of layoffs across various industries. Microsoft, with over 10,000 cuts, played a substantial role in these figures. The mounting job losses highlight the challenges faced by tech companies in an ever-evolving landscape, marked by rapid advancements, market fluctuations, and corporate restructuring.