Microsoft has been identified as the source behind the massive leak of documents that unveiled details such as a new disc-less Xbox Series X design, previously undisclosed games from Bethesda, and internal discussions about the possibility of acquiring Nintendo. This revelation came to light in a recent filing from the FTC v. Microsoft case.
Court's Stance on the Leak
According to the filing, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley stated that the court had instructed both the Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft to supply the court with “a secure cloud link” to trial exhibits, ensuring that redactions were in line with the court's recent directives.
Microsoft complied by providing a link on September 14th, from which the court proceeded to upload the exhibits. However, it was later brought to the court's attention that the version of the exhibits shared contained non-public information. Recognizing the gravity of the oversight, the court swiftly removed the documents.
The FTC and Microsoft have been given a deadline of September 22nd to resubmit the accepted trial exhibits. Furthermore, they are required to provide a written certification, signed by all involved parties, confirming that the exhibits only contain public information, adhering to the court's orders.
FTC's Reaction and Previous Mishaps
Earlier on the same day, the FTC shifted the blame for the leaked documents towards Microsoft. The leaked Xbox documents were peculiarly embedded within what seemed to be a mere five-page PDF. This isn't the first instance of inadvertent leaks during this case. In a previous incident in June, confidential PlayStation information was inadvertently disclosed due to inadequate redactions, seemingly done using a Sharpie.
Phil Spencer's Take on the Situation
Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, expressed his sentiments on the matter, both internally to Microsoft employees and publicly on X (formerly Twitter). He conveyed his disappointment about the unintended disclosure, especially considering the evolution of many of the plans that were leaked.
We've seen the conversation around old emails and documents. It is hard to see our team's work shared in this way because so much has changed and there's so much to be excited about right now, and in the future. We will share the real plans when we are ready.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) September 19, 2023
Spencer emphasized the dedication and passion of the Xbox team and their commitment to their work. He assured that the real plans would be shared when the time is right. In an internal memo, Spencer told Xbox employees the following:
“Today, several documents submitted in the court proceedings related to our proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard were unintentionally disclosed. I know this is disappointing, even if many of the documents are well over a year old and our plans have evolved.
I also know we all take the confidentiality of our plans and our partners' information very seriously. This leak obviously is not us living up to that expectation. We will learn from what happened and be better going forward. We all put incredible amounts of passion and energy into our work, and this is never how we want that hard work to be shared with the community. That said, there's so much more to be excited about, and when we're ready, we'll share the real plans with our players.”