Cisco wants EU to reconsider Microsoft Skype deal

Cisco is calling on European Union authorities to reconsider the unconditional approval of Microsoft’s $8.5bn acquisition of Skype.

Cisco is calling on European Union authorities to reconsider the unconditional approval of Microsoft’s $8.5bn acquisition of Skype.

The network equipment maker, which sells a range of high-end videoconferencing equipment, claims the European Commission approved the deal without carrying out an in-depth investigation.

Cisco wants the EU’s top court to consider whether the Microsoft-Skype alliance should have been required to open up its video network to callers from other platforms as a condition of approval.

According to the networking firm, conditions need to be set to ensure the new entity will not block other video services to dominate the video calling market.

Cisco claims it is not opposed to the merger, but wants the EC to introduce open standards similar to those used for mobile phones to ensure greater interoperability, according to the BBC.

Open standards for video services would allow calls to be made between Cisco’s WebEx videoconferencing service and Skype, as well as other services such as Google Video.

Cisco is unlikely to be able to block the deal by taking its appeal to the General Court of the EU, but could prompt the EC to extract further concessions from Microsoft, according to the Financial Times.

Microsoft said in a statement that the EC conducted a thorough investigation of the acquisition, in which Cisco actively participated, and approved the deal without any conditions. “We’re confident the Commission’s decision will stand up on appeal,” the company said.

The European Commission has said it will defend its decision in court.

When the EC cleared the acquisition under the EU Merger Regulation in October 2011, it said: "The deal would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA)."

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