The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) designates Microsoft as the culprit for the massive Xbox leak, which includes a long list of revelations about undisclosed hardware and games, among other things. In a statement, the presiding judge of the FTC vs. Microsoft case, Jacqueline Scott Corley, indicates that Microsoft indeed provided the documents themselves.
Microsoft is currently dealing with possibly the largest leak in Xbox history. FTC lawsuit documents have unveiled plans for a new mid-generation Xbox model in 2024, a next-gen hybrid Xbox in 2028, and Bethesda’s release schedule. A leaked email revealed that Phil Spencer is very interested in acquiring Nintendo. Meanwhile, news has emerged about a one-handed controller and a next-gen version of Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2. We also now know what Phil Spencer really thought after the unveiling of the PlayStation 5. All of this is highly embarrassing for Microsoft and potentially damaging to their marketing plans and business relationships.
But what happened? The leaks originated from attachments within a single court document uploaded to a website hosted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. This is where the FTC sued Microsoft over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
At first glance, the PDF document appeared to be as heavily redacted as any other document. However, when the document was opened with Adobe Reader, multiple attachments were revealed, providing details about Xbox’s gaming plans and containing confidential emails between executives.
In a tweet, Douglas Farrar, the director of the FTC’s public relations department, indicated that the FTC was not responsible for this. In a statement to NBCNews, he accused Microsoft of creating their own problems, stating, “Microsoft is responsible for this error of uploading these documents to the court.”
The District Court has since removed the documents, likely at Microsoft’s request. Subsequently, the presiding judge in the case, Jacqueline Scott Corley, issued a statement. In it, she mentioned that Microsoft had likely accidentally sent a version of the documents to the court that “contained non-public information.” The full statement can be found below.