Cisco wants EU to look again at Microsoft-Skype merger

In early October, the European Union gave its blessings to the $12.5 billion merger between Microsoft and Skype. The two companies made the merger official later that month. Now a rival of Microsoft, Cisco, wants the EU to look again at the merger with Skype and ask for some new conditions to be placed on the company.

In a post on Cisco's web site, the company said that it has filed an appeal of the Microsoft-Skype merger to the General Court of the European Union. While Cisco claims that it is not opposed to the merger of the two companies, it adds that Cisco, " ... believes the European Commission should have placed conditions that would ensure greater standards-based interoperability, to avoid any one company from being able to seek to control the future of video communications."

In the blog post, Cisco said that it has an issue with plans to link Skype with the Lync Enterprise Communications Platform that's handled by Microsoft. Cisco believes that such a plan would force other companies to use Skype exclusively for their video calls. Cisco added:

This appeal is about one thing only: securing standards-based interoperability in the video calling space. Our goal is to make video calling as easy and seamless as  email is today. Making a video-to-video call should be as easy as dialing a phone number. Today, however, you can’t make seamless video calls from one platform to another, much to the frustration of consumers and business users alike.

ZDNet got a comment from Microsoft which said that the EU conducted a "thorough investigation of the acquisition" and was "confident" that the EU's decision to impose no conditions for the Skype merger will stand up to Cisco's appeal.

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22 Comments

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Oh good.The incompetent Cisco asked the incompetent EU to check on Microsoft.Just let do Microsoft do its job.At least MS is good at what it does.

So now that Microsoft owns Skype, Cisco want them to open their video calling standards, whatever happen to before the merger? smh

Cisco has been buying up all these companies to strengthen their VOIP line and all and now they want restrictions imposed on MS-Skype merger? They should have bought Skype then - it was for sale for a long time before MS swooped in.

sound like an act of scared company so F u cisco they have the right to do whatever they want with the software they purchased

Here's my point....

However reasonable this is, where the hell was Cisco before the EU approved the merger? Why appeal when they could have spoke up then? I'm sure there was a time frame for bring these types of concerns to the EU BEFORE the approval, or am I wrong? Sounds a bit sketchy to me...

I think MS has really opened up lately, MSN messenger supporting XMPP? 5 or 10 years ago, you'd literally have to be blimmin' MENTAL to think that'd ever happen, but it has, albeit with a custom non-standard login hash type but it has happened!

n_K said,
I think MS has really opened up lately, MSN messenger supporting XMPP? 5 or 10 years ago, you'd literally have to be blimmin' MENTAL to think that'd ever happen, but it has, albeit with a custom non-standard login hash type but it has happened!

That's what competition does to you..

So really all they want is to force Microsoft to open it up to a standards body so that other companies can use it, and not having to pay like MS did. How about Cisco pony up a few billion to buy a license to the spec, then they can access it.

Out of interest, I also looked up Apple's Face Time. When Face Time was announced nearly 2 years ago, Steve Jobs said that they would open up FT to standards bodies:
"And we're going to take it all the way. We're going to the standards bodies, starting tomorrow, and we're going to make FaceTime an open industry standard." - Steve Jobs, 2010 WWDC Keynote.

They have not done so, and I am not bothered by this. But why is Cisco not going after Apple. Face Time has millions of users, if Cisco wants all video conferencing software to be open to make it work like email, to be open to all platforms (not just Skype, or iOS), shouldn't they be complaining about that, also? WebEx is owned by Cisco (a company they bought for $3.2B), and I don't see them opening up their protocols to others to standards for interop. Why don't they just give away their protocols, even though they paid a few billion for it?

To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised that every TELCO in the world isn't up in arms about this. MS could single handedly take business communications away from big phone systems.

Just think about it. A Lync directory for every business published to Microsoft over VoIP would allow Business to Business communications without ever hitting a TELCO dialtone. Add Skype into the mix and you officially have a potential method for every individual being able to contact every other person or business in the world without having to hit a dialtone. Oh yeah... and they are the engine for Facebook's communication.

I know because we are piloting Lync and will probably replace our aging multimillion dollar phone system with it. Also Office 365 offers a Lync solution for small businesses. I'm also a consultant and I've helped 4 of my sub 100 user clients migrate to it from their internal Exchange and voice solutions. It's going to save them thousands of dollars a year.

I'm just saying....

Edited by Drewidian, Feb 15 2012, 10:23pm :

Drewidian said,
To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised that every TELCO in the world isn't up in arms about this. MS could single handedly take business communications away from big phone systems.

Just think about it. A Lync directory for every business published to Microsoft over VoIP would allow Business to Business communications without ever hitting a TELCO dialtone. Add Skype into the mix and you officially have a potential method for every individual being able to contact every other person or business in the world without having to hit a dialtone. Oh yeah... and they are the engine for Facebook's communication.

I know because we are piloting Lync and will probably replace our aging multimillion dollar phone system with it. Also Office 365 offers a Lync solution for small businesses. I'm also a consultant and I've helped 4 of my sub 100 user clients migrate to it from their internal Exchange and voice solution.

I'm just saying....

Federated communication between all private and public IM/VoIP systems is the start of such a process. Microsoft is just one of many players in this field, and they absolutely need Lync to work with everything if they want to own any part of the market. They know this already, which is why it was *designed* to federate with private/public entities via its own trust mechanisms, or XMPP.

RealFduch said,

Why are you defending proprietary non-standard secret protocols?
Why not let MS make Skype more open?

Isn't that what Cisco is asking for?

RealFduch said,
Why are you defending proprietary non-standard secret protocols?
Why not let MS make Skype more open?

VoIP isn't a big secret protocol.

capr said,
Is it just me or does this sound totally reasonable?

It's not unreasonable, just pointless. Microsoft is in the process of embracing the XMPP standards in all their communications products.

The Skype team themselves have to be forced to embrace XMPP and the ideas around federated communication. Skype itself is a bane of federated communication, not Microsoft, something that Microsoft already said they were going to fix once they owned it.