Feeds

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

Just Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan to convince

Next gen security for virtualised 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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.