EU Gives Green Light to Microsoft for Skype Buy Over in Europe

EU Gives Green Light to Microsoft for Skype Buy Over in Europe

Microsoft's deal to buy out Skype has been approved by the European Commission last week. Microsoft's intention was announced in May this year; however, it had to obtain international approval before it could complete its buy over of Skype.

In the United States, Microsoft has obtained approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in June this year. To date, this is the priciest acquisition by Microsoft as it forks out US$8.5 billion for the Luxemborg-based VoIP company.

After clearing FTC's hurdle, the Redmond software company faced one of its toughest critics, the European Union. Its relation with Microsoft has been marred by antitrust lawsuits leveled by the EU against the Redmond company. It has resulted in fines for Microsoft and other business costs as it has had to customise its software products for legal compliance.

The most prominent action by Microsoft was its removal of Windows Media Player from its operating system Windows XP. The compliant software was rebranded Windows XP N for the EU market. The current development marks the reversal of fortune for Microsoft, one which is frowned upon by competitors; they claim that Microsoft can bundle Skype in its operating systems and give it an unfair edge over Skype's competitors.

The EU Commission current ruling seems to run against the grain of its past decisions against Microsoft. As an act of appeasement, Microsoft has given its word to support Skype on other competitor's platform like Apple's iOS and Google's Android in its future releases.

(Source: CBS Interactive via The Financial Times Ltd.)

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