Microsoft, Skype deal approved by European Commission

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Microsoft, who acquired Skype for $8.5 billion dollars back in May of this year, has been waiting on approval from the European Commission. The approval finally came today after the the European Commission officially approved the merger of Skype and Microsoft, concluding that combining the two companies would not significantly affect competition.

“In the area of consumer communications, the investigation found that the parties’ activities mainly overlap for video communications, where Microsoft is active through its Windows Live Messenger. However, the Commission considers that there are no competition concerns in this growing market where numerous players, including Google, are present. For enterprise communications, the investigation confirmed that Skype has a limited market presence for these products and does not compete directly with Microsoft’s enterprise communication product Lync, which is used mostly by large enterprises,” the European Commission concluded.

Microsoft is still waiting on approval from Russia, the Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan. Microsoft received approval from the United States back in June of this year.

Recently, an Italian VoIP firm is challenging the company’s motives for purchasing Skype claiming that Microsoft will bundle the popular program with Windows. Italian VoIP firm, Messagenet, wrote to the European Commission warning that if Microsoft is allowed to acquire Skype, it will place Skype in a dominate position in the VoIP arena and ultimately excluding other VoIP companies from the market.

The European Commission also mentioned in a statement today that companies should not worry about Skype being bundled in Windows. “The vast majority of consumers who acquire a PC with Skype already installed are registered Skype users and … most of them subsequently download a version different from the pre-installed one.”

Skype, which currently has applications for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, plans on offering something unique just for Microsoft. With its own division at Microsoft, Skype will be able to have a better integration into Windows Phone, compared to Android or iOS. Why? Well, the restrictions on third party access to a phone’s video processor or address book information does not apply to Skype at Microsoft, so this means better utilization of hardware for tighter integration.