Feeds

Microsoft's €5.9bn Skype slurp to get EU rubber stamp

Just Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan to convince

Security for virtualized datacentres

The European Union is set to green-light Microsoft's €5.9bn acquisition of VoIP behemoth Skype, putting 145 million users under Redmond's control.

An announcement is due today, but according to the Financial Times, approval will come and without interoperability requirements, as long as Microsoft commits to maintaining non-Windows versions of the dominant VoIP and video-calling platform.

That follows a similar ruling from the FCC, and leaves just four countries investigating the competitive impact of the acquisition. But the EU was the big one, and a region where Microsoft has had problems before.

Italian competitor Messagenet had demanded interoperability, something Microsoft pointed out was technically fraught. Skype has always eschewed the industry standard, SIP, in favour of proprietary protocols – which the founders claimed, with typical modesty, were superior to everything else.

That makes interoperability much more difficult, and (Microsoft successfully argued) as long as Skype remains available for iOS and Android, there's really no need to enforce interconnections to maintain competition.

Supporting those additional platforms strays into markets where competition is fierce, in the form of Google Talk and Apple's FaceTime. That enabled Microsoft to argue that dropping Skype into Windows would not result in unfair domination of the market, an argument the EU's competition commissioner seems to have accepted.

Interoperability would be nice, especially for owners of BlackBerry's PlayBook, who recently got Video Chat but are having a hard time finding other PlayBook owners with whom to talk. But when there are so many options available there's no clear monopoly on VoIP services as yet.

When Windows was the dominant computing platform, bundling a VoIP client might have given it unassailable leverage. It is not often Microsoft has cause to be grateful about its slipping market share, but on this occasion it is just that which has cleared the way for the company to enter a new market entirely. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.