Microsoft insists Activision-Blizzard was planning on mass layoffs before the merger

It's all the money we don't have!

As we’ve been covering, earlier this week the FTC filed a complaint to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, alleging that Microsoft misrepresented itself during hearings before the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. Specifically, in seeking to assuage regulators’ concerns, Microsoft vowed it would “maintain the pre-merger status quo” – that it would run Activision-Blizzard as a vertical subsidiary that would be easy to divest, rather than integrate it so thoroughly as to “eliminate redundancies.”

Obviously, following Microsoft’s mass layoffs of 1900 people in January, which apparently hit Activision-Blizzard heavily, the FTC now believes that Microsoft lied to the public, to regulators, and to the court itself; the regulatory body quotes Microsoft’s own layoff announcement’s verbiage of reducing “areas of overlap” as a direct contradiction to Microsoft’s “vertical acquisition” intimations to the court.

Well, now Microsoft has responded by insisting that it didn’t mispresent itself because “Activision was already planning on eliminating a significant number of jobs while still operating as an independent company.” It then goes on to admit that “some overlap was identified and some jobs were eliminated,” but attorneys for the megacorp insist that ABK is still structured to be easily divestible and so the FTC’s complaint should be dismissed. Of course, if that’s true, it’s unclear why Activision hadn’t just done it last year before the transition (since it certainly wasn’t shy about layoffs in 2023).

Whether any of that is going to be easily digestible for the court is another story, but from our vantage, we’re still looking at 1900 jobs gone because of the merger – quite a lot of them from ABK’s games divisions and support services.

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