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Update: June 20, 2023: Axios' Stephen Totilo posted on Twitter that a Microsoft representative contacted him and said the email is from 2019 and pre-dates the Xbox-Activision deal. The representative did not say what was in the email, however.

Original Story: June 20, 2023:

A lawyer representing a group of gamers in their legal bid to stop the Xbox-Activision deal claims they have proof that Microsoft wants to close PlayStation down (thanks, Axios). This alleged proof comes from an email exchange between head of Xbox Studios Matt Booty and Xbox’s chief finance officer Tim Stuart, a sealed document dubbed “Exhibit K” in the court proceedings.

Axios’ Stephen Totilo said the lawyer called the email “uncontroverted evidence that Microsoft had the intention to put its main competition, the Sony PlayStation, out of the market.” Microsoft is arguing to keep the exchange sealed and said it has no bearing on the case.

The news comes just days before hearings in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against Microsoft intended to stop the acquisition from proceeding, during which Booty and Stuart will be called as witnesses. The FTC believes that Xbox’s purchase of Activision-Blizzard will give Microsoft too much influence in the gaming space, including the nascent cloud gaming industry, along with access to inordinate amounts of consumer data.

Whether Exhibit K will come up during these hearings remains to be seen.

Microsoft is preparing to appeal the U.K. Consumer Markets Authority’s decision to block the deal, while the European Union has already given its approval, citing Xbox’s willingness to provide its games on other platforms as proof that there is no threat to competition in the space.