European Commission Approves Microsoft’s Skype Takeover
The European Commission, the regulatory body for the European Union, has officially put its stamp of approval on Microsoft’s $8.5 billion purchase of Skype, The New York Times is reporting. That means that Microsoft has officially overcome a major antitrust hurdle — but it didn’t come easily, and it isn’t the final battle.
Microsoft apparently was holding its breath over the European Commission’s ruling: Messagenet, an Italian VoIP competitor to Skype, demanded the deal be shut down unless Microsoft pledged to open the 124 billion-member-strong network to other vendors.
But the European competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, chose to let Messagenet’s request slide, and the deal is going ahead as planned, saying that Microskype’s business plan isn’t harmful to healthy competition and there’s plenty of room for innovation.
In other words, Skype is mainly meant to bolster Microsoft’s consumer videoconferencing business, and doesn’t represent market solidification in a way that regulators should concern themselves with. After all, most enterprises will stick with Microsoft Lync or one of Redmond’s other hosted VoIP tools for video and voice chat rather than Skype.
Next, Microsoft will have to sit tight while regulators in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan debate the deal. But it’s a very important step toward this deal closing. But will the combined Microsoft and Skype spell trouble for the cloud channel? Stay tuned to TalkinCloud for more.