Microsoft expects European approval of Skype merger

The merger between Microsoft and Skype has taken a long time to be approved. However, the European Commission is now expected to sign off on the deal later this week. The Financial Times reports that Joaquín Almunia, the EU's competition commissioner, will approve the deal without the need to go through a second and more detailed investigation. That should allow the Microsoft-Skype merger to finally close soon

Some European companies have disputed the merger with the EU commission. One of them is an Italy-based software company called Messagenet. It wants the EU to not allow Microsoft to bundle the Skype software inside its Windows operating system. In the past the EU has forced Microsoft to unbundle other products such as Internet Explorer and Media Player from Windows. In its defense, Microsoft said bundling Skype with a number of Microsoft products will make it more attractive to consumers. Microsoft has also pledged that it will continue to develop Skype to run on other platforms such as Apple's operating systems, Android and others. Recently Skype announced a deal with Facebook that gave users of that social networking service access to video chat features.

Microsoft first announced that it wanted to acquire Skype in May for $8.5 billion. It was one of the biggest deals that Microsoft has announced in quite some time. In June the Federal Trade Commission allowed the deal between the two companies to move forward with the FTC seeing no anti-trust issues. Skype would become a separate division in Microsoft when the merger becomes official.

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