The European Commission this morning approved Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn for more than $26 billion, with certain conditions, giving the Redmond technology giant the final regulatory sign-off needed to complete the largest deal in its history.
Microsoft announced the acquisition in June, and regulators in the U.S. and other countries had already cleared the deal. With the EU approval, “the deal will close in the coming days,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, in a post this morning.
“With this regulatory process behind us, we can bring together two great companies and focus on even broader issues for the future,” Smith said. “The events of the past six months make not just this business opportunity, but the broader societal issues connected to them, more important.”
Microsoft had faced opposition from Salesforce, which had competed for LinkedIn and asked European regulators to investigate the competitive implications of the deal.
Here are the conditions on the approval, as outlined by the EU this morning.
- ensuring that PC manufacturers and distributors would be free not to install LinkedIn on Windows and allowing users to remove LinkedIn from Windows should PC manufacturers and distributors decide to preinstall it.
- allowing competing professional social network service providers to maintain current levels of interoperability with Microsoft’s Office suite of products through the so-called Office add-in program and Office application programming interfaces.
- granting competing professional social network service providers access to “Microsoft Graph”, a gateway for software developers. It is used to build applications and services that can, subject to user consent, access data stored in the Microsoft cloud, such as contact information, calendar information, emails, etc. Software developers can potentially use this data to drive subscribers and usage to their professional social networks.