EU approves Microsoft's Skype takeover

2011-10-07 20:08

Brussels - European anti-trust officials approved US technology giant Microsoft's $8.5bn takeover of internet voice and video leader Skype on Friday.

"The deal would not significantly impede effective competition across the single European market" of half a billion consumers, the European Commission said in a statement.

Microsoft's purchase is aimed at boosting its presence in an online arena dominated by Google and Facebook, both of whom were also believed to have been interested in Skype alongside computing giant Cisco.

Skype users can make low-cost or free phone calls over the internet using their computers or smartphones. Skype bypasses the standard telephone network by channelling voice and video calls over the web.

One of the top applications on Apple's iPhone and on smartphones powered by Google's Android software, Skype has some 170 million users who will now be able to "Skype" using Windows-powered phones or even Xbox game consoles.

"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," the European Union executive said.

"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," it added.

Skype was founded in 2003 and acquired by online auction giant eBay in September 2005. It was sold to an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009 in a deal that valued the company at $2.75bn.

Microsoft's biggest acquisition until now had been its 2007 buy of digital marketing firm aQuantive for $6.3bn. Microsoft unsuccessfully tried to buy Yahoo! in 2008 for $47.5bn.

  • Robert Hurn - 2011-10-07 20:44

    MS wants to control Skype to check if you are legal through a free network. Dont be stupid. Microsoft will go after everything that is for free to check your ass out. They only have three profitable pillars, MS Opperating System, Office, forgor the other one. but anyways thats the lay of the ground.

      Robert Hurn - 2011-10-07 21:30

      one bad reply of somebody knowing nothing

      Robert Hurn - 2011-10-07 21:34

      no license no coms

      ProfKaygee - 2011-10-08 15:52

      Oh how the clueless will remain clueless. First of all, Microsoft have a range of profitable products my mate that are so many that it is a bit impossible to count them all. There is Windows, Office, Server, Development Tools (Visual Studio and Sql Server), Windows Phone, and Lync, the list goes on mate. They even have their own anti-virus that is paid called Microsoft Forefront. So let us stop showing our cluelessness and keep quiet where it matters.

  • Joe - 2011-10-08 12:28

    dammit skype, WHY??? anything with the word 'microsoft' attached to it is bound to get full of bugs, hacked, expensive, not supported, and lose market value! 'microsoft' on software is as bad as 'made in china' on products. better start looking for something else.

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