Microsoft News Roundup: Massive Xbox leak, a lackluster Surface event, Panos Panay leaving Microsoft, and Activision Blizzard purchase provisionally approved

 Surface Laptop Studio 2.
Surface Laptop Studio 2.

Wow, what a week it's been for news. We expected the last few days to be full of Microsoft news, but what came out shocked the tech world. The biggest Xbox leak in history gave us a glimpse of an Xbox Series X refresh and a new Xbox console in 2028. We also saw Panos Panay announce his departure from Microsoft just two days before the Surface and AI event that Panay was scheduled to present. And that event certainly made news, though not in the way Microsoft likely wanted. The presentation wasn't even live streamed and has been called the worst Surface event ever by some people (including myself).

Toss in Intel announcing its Meteor Lake CPUs, and more and you have one of the busiest weeks we've seen in ages.

Panos Panay leaves Microsoft

Surface Studio
Surface Studio

Panos Panay was not present at this week's Surface and AI event, but he managed to steal the show. Panay, who has headed Microsoft's Surface and Windows efforts for years, announced that he would leave the tech giant. The news came abruptly and just two days before the Surface and AI event. Panay had previously been scheduled to speak at the event, as he had done at every previous Surface event while in his role.

Later reports stated that Panay will join Amazon. We also learned that Panay reportedly left Microsoft due to cutbacks and layoffs. Several Surface devices, including the Surface Studio all-in-one and Surface Duo, will not have new versions for the foreseeable future. A second generation of the Surface Headphones was once on the way, but that's no longer the case. Instead, Microsoft plans to focus on a collection of product lines, including the Surface Pro and Surface Go.

The move toward mainstream devices and away from experimental and niche hardware was reportedly a key reason Panay decided to leave.

Saddening Surface event

Satya Nadella at the special Surface and AI event in New York
Satya Nadella at the special Surface and AI event in New York

If you blinked, you missed Microsoft unveiling the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and Surface Laptop Go 3 at its event this week. If you only followed the event as it happened, you missed the announcement of the Surface Go 4 and Surface Hub 3 entirely. Microsoft did not announce those two devices during its Surface and AI event. Instead, the Go 4 and Hub 3 only appeared in posts and videos that went up after the event.

The strange treatment of the Surface Go 4 and Surface Hub 3 go along with what was considered the worst Surface event in years by some. I argued that if this is the future of Surface, I see why Panos Panay left Microsoft. Our Senior Editor Zac Bowden called the event a "massive blunder and missed opportunity."

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Surface Laptop Studio 2 | From $1,999.99 at Microsoft

The new Surface Laptop Studio 2 is Microsoft's most powerful Surface yet, with an Intel 13th-Gen H-series processor, up to 64GB RAM, and NVIDIA RTX 40 series graphics to choose from. View Deal

Xbox leaks

Leaked Xbox documents from the Xbox vs FTC case.
Leaked Xbox documents from the Xbox vs FTC case.

This week kicked off with the largest Xbox leak in history. Documents from the Microsoft vs FTC case were left unredacted on accident, allowing major news to drop. The leaks included plans for an Xbox Series X refresh, a new Xbox console on the way in 2028, and a library of games Bethesda had in the works in 2021.

Thanks to the documents, we also learned that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wants the company to purchase Nintendo. That hope has been laughed at by many, including our Rebecca Spear.

It's important to note that the leak was from years ago, so plans may have changed since then. Microsoft has since spent tens of billions of dollars acquiring studios and evolving its plans.

CMA provisionally approves Activision Blizzard deal

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Diablo 4, and Call of Duty; Modern Warfare 2 images sliced together
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Diablo 4, and Call of Duty; Modern Warfare 2 images sliced together

While we'll still have to wait until October for a final decision, it appears that the UK Competition and Markets Agency (CMA) will approved Microsoft's $75 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. The agency shared preliminary approval of the deal this week. The change of stance came after Microsoft restructured the deal. Most notably, the tech giant's new deal sees the cloud streaming rights of Activision Blizzard games sold to Ubisoft.

"We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process," said Microsoft President Brad Smith. "We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA’s remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline."

Intel Meteor Lake CPUs

Intel Meteor Lake from Intel Technology Tour 2023 in Malaysia
Intel Meteor Lake from Intel Technology Tour 2023 in Malaysia

Intel took the wraps off its Meteor Lake CPUs this week. To be completely honest, a couple paragraphs summarizing the news doesn't really do it justice, so I'll point you to our Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino's full breakdown of Intel Meteor Lake.

That being said, there are some key takeaways from Intel's announcement. Some generational leaps are small. This is not the case with Meteor Lake. It's a big enough change that it's coming out alongside an entirely reset naming system by Intel.

Every Meteor Lake chip will feature a neural processing unit (NPU). Those processors will be vital as AI continues to become more mainstream. In addition to many creative applications using artificial intelligence, AI is becoming more common for improving webcams, microphones, and other everyday parts of computing.

This week's news focused on Intel's new architecture, not specific chips. That means we'll have to wait a bit to see things like the Core 3, Core 5, and Core 7 that are built on the new architecture.

Reviews & Editorials

Das Keyboard 6 Professional media controls.
Das Keyboard 6 Professional media controls.

Our team reviews the latest accessories and games each week. Recently, our experts took a close look at the Dell Latitude 9440 2-in-1, went to the hardwood and enjoyed NBA 2K24, and traveled with a wonderful backpack from Waterfield.

Deals

We love gadgets and games. We don't love paying too much for them. I bet you feel the same way. That's why our team of experts gathers together the best deals each week. Recently, we saw the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core hit its lowest price ever. It's actually dropped even more since our initial coverage.

Here are all the best deals that are still live.

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Want some paddles for your Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core? These ones from eXtremeRate are great, and right now, they're on sale for a fantastic 45% off.View Deal