Microsoft’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype is a done deal, with the online communications company already being integrated into Microsoft’s business. So the news today that Cisco has appealed the European Commission’s approval of the deal might seem like odd timing.
However, Cisco says it isn’t aiming to stop the acquisition. Instead, it wants the European Commission to go back and impose conditions to ensure that Microsoft can’t get a lock on the video-calling market, and competing video calling platforms are able to work together.
“Microsoft’s plans to integrate Skype exclusively with its Lync Enterprise Communications Platform could lock-in businesses who want to reach Skype’s 700 million account holders to a Microsoft-only platform,” writes Cisco’s Marthin De Beer in a blog post explaining the suit.
Microsoft says in a statement, “The European Commission conducted a thorough investigation of the acquisition, in which Cisco actively participated, and approved the deal in a 36-page decision without any conditions. We’re confident the Commission’s decision will stand up on appeal.”
The appeal filed by Cisco was joined by European VoIP provider Messagenet. The text of the complaint hasn’t been made public. Here’s how Cisco’s DeBeer describes it in his post.
We did not take this action lightly. We respect the European Commission, and value Microsoft as a customer, supplier, partner, and competitor. Cisco does not oppose the merger, but 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.
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.