Microsoft/Skype deal to be approved by the EU

Microsoft’s big nemisis in the last few years have been the EU, who have repeatedly pursued anti-trust litigation against the company, famously forcing Microsoft to release a version of Windows without Windows Media Player a few years ago and more recently a browser ballot screen when Windows is installed.

It seems the climate in Europe has however changed, with Brussels set to approve Microsoft’s $8.5 billion purchase of Skype without a second round of investigations or restrictions.

The FT reports that Joaquín Almunia, the EU competition commissioner, is to give the green light to the proposed deal without any remedies, in spite of complaints from would-be rivals over Microsoft “bundling” the software with Windows.

To achieve this outcome Microsoft promises to maintain Skype on other platforms like iOS and Android, and asserted that there are numerous competitive services that prevent Skype users from being locked in.

The deal has already been approved in June by the US Federal Trade Commission.

The approval opens the way for the service to be deeply integrated into Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8, and would double the reach of Microsoft’s own IM services, which currently has more than 300 million active users.

Read more at FT here.


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