The FTC isn't happy about Microsoft Activision Blizzard layoffs

The FTC isn't happy about Microsoft Activision Blizzard layoffs

The US Federal Trade Commission sure isn't happy about Microsoft's decision to lay off 1,900 staff from its games business.

As spotted by Bloomberg, the government body has written a letter to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals saying that the layoffs – which are impacting workers at the Call of Duty giant – contradict statements the Xbox giant made when trying to win approval of the acquisition; namely that Activision Blizzard would operate independently once the deal was closed. 

The FTC says that the Xbox giant eliminating thousands of jobs "undermines" its ability "to order effective relief". The organisation continues, saying that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard created overlap that has resulted in these layoffs. The FTC reckons the court should have paused the merging of the two games giants pending the completion of the FTC's own in-house trial.

Microsoft was allowed to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in 2023 following a long legal battle with competition regulators in jurisdictions around the world.

At the start of 2024, Microsoft announced it was laying off 1,900 members of staff from its games division, roughly eight per cent of the 22,000 person headcount.

"In continuing its opposition to the deal, the FTC ignores the reality that the deal itself has substantially changed," a Microsoft spokesperson told

"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." 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.