Microsoft gets EU green light over Skype deal

Microsoft’s deal with Skype has been given the nod by EU officials, despite some anti-competitive worries.

According to reports by the Financial Times the EU’s competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia will allow the $8.5 billion deal to go through.  This saves Microsoft the hassle of a lengthy second-phase of investigations, and means the deal is close to getting the all-clear internationally.

The deal has already been approved in the States by the Federal Trade Commission.  There are still a few countries which are mulling over the idea, specifically Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan, but Microsoft is largely home and dry.

There had been complaints over the mammoth deal centering around the bundling of Skype with Windows. 

Messagenet was one of the firms which brought up complaints over ‘bundling’ software that had also surfaced back in the nineties with Internet Explorer.  It is thought that by bundling Skype with Windows Microsoft would severely curb the competition.

However Microsoft has managed to persuade EU officials that as Skype is still going to be available on plenty of other OS platforms it hasn’t done anything wrong.

Worries from internet telephone services that users would be locked into Skype were officially put to rest by Microsoft, which has quelled any suspicion from the EU. The service providers might disagree.

It means that Microsoft will be free to stick Skype in its smartphones, as it hopes to give Apple and Google a run for their money with a new wave of Windows Phone handsets. Windows 8 is on the horizon.

Of course, there is more Microsoft will be celebrating after getting the green light from the EU.The deal is also a way of Microsoft cosying up with Facebook, which is also keen on Skype’s video chat.