The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has denied responsibility for a major leak of Microsoft documents that occurred on September 18.
According to Douglas Farrar, director of the FTC’s Office of Public Affairs, the leak was an error on Microsoft’s part.
“The FTC was not responsible for uploading Microsoft’s plans for its games and consoles to the court website,” said Farrar on X (formerly known as Twitter).
The leak included confidential information about Microsoft’s upcoming products and services and its plans for the future. The documents have since been pulled from the court website, but not before the information was shared across the internet and social media channels and picked up by news outlets.
Jacqueline Scott Corley, judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, had the documents pulled via an order signed today, September 19.
Shared by Farrar on X, the Court ordered the FTC and Microsoft to meet, confer, and provide the Court with a secure cloud link to submitted exhibits in the FTC’s case against Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition.
The documents were to include redactions outlined in the Court’s orders. Microsoft provided the document link on September 14, and the Court uploaded the exhibits to the internet page established for the case.
After the leak, both parties informed the Court the documents contained non-public information, resulting in the Court removing the trial exhibits from the internet.
All documents are to be resubmitted by September 22, and all parties involved will need to sign and file a certification verifying the exhibits have been reviewed and only contain information by the Court’s orders.
The leak could have several implications for Microsoft and its customers and might certainly provide competitors an advantage, as they will now be aware of the company’s future plans.
Clearly, Microsoft will need to address the implications of the leak, contain the damage, and reassure its customers and partners. Most assuredly, the company likely launched an investigation to find the party responsible for the leak and may have already taken action.
Information from the leaked documents include Microsoft and Bethesda’s plans for a Fallout 3 Remaster, Ghostwire Tokyo Sequel, Dishonored 3, an Oblivion Remaster, and Doom Year Zero. The leak also revealed Microsoft’s continued interest in Nintendo, a tentative release window for The Elder Scrolls 6, an Xbox controller revamp, a refresh of the Xbox Series X, and the possibility of a new Xbox console coming in 2028.