EU Approves Microsoft Purchase of Skype

Antitrust regulators in the European Union (EU) have signed off on Microsoft's planned $8.5 billion purchase of Internet communications firm Skype. The European Commission (EC) signaled Friday that it would give the OK to the sale of Skype, Microsoft's biggest-ever corporate deal.

"The Commission considers that there are no competition concerns in this growing market where numerous players, including Google, are present," the EC said in a statement. It noted that Microsoft and Skype had only a single "overlapping" area of functionality, in video conferencing. Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger product, also free, already offers this feature to consumers. But the firms had no overlap with business computing, the EC said.

European competition commissioner JoaquĆ­n Almunia approved the deal with no objections, meaning that Microsoft won't have to change its plans in any way.

EU approval of the deal is the last major hurdle Microsoft faces, though regulators in Russia, Serbia, Taiwan, and the Ukraine are still examining it. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the transaction previously, in June.

Microsoft announced its intention to purchase Skype for $8.5 billion in May. Skype currently has more than 120 million active users, making it the most popular Internet-based video communications service.

Microsoft says it expects to complete its purchase of Skype "soon."

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