Despite Microsoft already completing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard and has made many concessions to get the deal approved by regulators across the world, the FTC is still hoping to reverse the transaction. In its latest appeals letter, the FTC takes issue with the recent lay-offs announced at Activision Blizzard.
The letter, as spotted by The Verge, sees the FTC claiming that the lay-offs at Activision Blizzard prove that Microsoft lied about having Activision Blizzard operate independently post-merger. The letter also states that the lay-offs go against Microsoft's previous assurances to “maintain the status quo” once it acquired Activision.
Microsoft has since responded, offering a lengthy statement to Eurogamer, stating that the FTC “ignores the reality” that the deal has “substantially changed”. The spokesperson adds: “Since the FTC lost in court last July, Microsoft was required by the UK competition authority to restructure the acquisition globally and therefore did not acquire the cloud streaming rights to Activision Blizzard games in the United States. Additionally, Sony and Microsoft signed a binding agreement to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation on even better terms than Sony had before.”
Microsoft is undergoing a number of layoffs across Xbox as a whole, not just Activision Blizzard. There could be some even bigger changes on the way, as Microsoft plans to offer a ‘business update' next week, during which it is expected to address plans for multiplatform game releases moving forward.
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KitGuru Says: This does seem like a weak argument from the FTC when you consider the sheer number of lay-offs that have been occurring across the entire games industry over the past 12 months. Chances are, Activision Blizzard would have undergone some cost-cutting whether the merger went through or not.