A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

Summary: In this Microsoft news roundup: A potential Skype-acquisition hurdle, ZunePass changes, tethering in Windows Phone Mango and more.

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Here's a quick round-up of Microsoft news bits from around the Web:

A potential hurdle to Microsoft's Skype-acquisition plan has emerged. Reuters reported earlier this week that Messagenet, an Italian Skype rival, had sought European Union antitrust regulators to block Microsoft's Skype acquisition because of potential antitrust issues around the bundling of Skype with Windows. Messagenet also is seeking guarantees that Microsoft won't block the ability of third-parties to integrate with Skype. The New York Times noted that Messagenet's actions don't mean European regulators will veto the $8.5 billion acquisition.  The final decision is due on October 7, as to whether Microsoft's planned purchase will need amending or sail through the regulatory process in Europe. U.S. regulators already approved the Microsoft-Skype deal in June of this year. Tethering may be coming (officially and not) to Windows Phone Mango devices: After Microsoft's official statement earlier this week that seemed to imply that only new Windows Phones running the Mango operating system would be able to tether, reality is setting in. As Long Zheng noted, hackers already have tethering working on some legacy Windows Phones. It sounds like some existing phones that include chips supporting the capability officially may end up supporting tethering, too (if carriers allow it). In short, more clarity is needed on Mango tethering, sooner rather than later.

Microsoft is tinkering with its ZunePass music-subscription service pricing and policies. Brand new subscribers in countries where ZunePass already is supported (plus Canada) will be offered a new $10 per month price, with no option to keep 10 songs per month. Those of us already on the $15 per month ZunePass plan (which includes the 10 songs per month purchase plan) can opt to stay on that plan, if so desired. As Windows Supersite's Paul Thurrott noted during our taping of Windows Weekly this week, Microsoft is now referring to the subscription service as Zune Music Pass... which could be seen as implying the long-rumored Zune Video Service Pass in the works. Microsoft is continuing to slowly but steadily flesh out Office Web Apps, the Webified versions of its Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote products. This week the Softies added digital-ink support to OneNote Web App; the ability to print directly from inside the browser with Excel Web App; and use right-click short cuts from inside the Excel Web App. Note: These are updates to Office Web Apps that are accessible via SkyDrive, not for all versions of Office Web Apps.

Microsoft is cementing partnerships for its soon-to-be-launched Xbox Live TV Service. Bloomberg BusinessWeek and others are reporting the Softies are lining up a host of service and content partners, including Comcast, Verizon, HBO, Sony Pictures, NBC and others, for the imminent Xbox Live TV Service launch. Microsoft offered a brief preview of the coming Xbox Live TV capability at the E3 show earlier this year. I believe this is Project Orapa -- the Mediaroom IPTV plus Xbox Live service -- about which I've blogged before. Microsoft also is working on related Media Center, Silverlight and set-top-box components (codenamed Rome, Taos and Monaco).

Topics: Windows, Banking, Software, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Cloud, Social Enterprise

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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23 comments
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  • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

    Thanks for the shout-out/link Mary-Jo. Can't decipher why Tethering is being managed like it is so far.... I guess in time things will be made clear to us re: what's going on.

    On the Zune Pass front - I reckon the new no-keepers $9.95 plan is the change MS need to make to the service to facilitate global rollouts to markets that to-date, have had the "free songs" being a roablock in negotiations.

    The US change will even it out for "no complaints" of us (eg Australia) vs. them (US).

    Cheers.
    Sheeds.
    WpDownUnder
    WPDownUnder
    • Re: Can't decipher why Tethering is being managed like it is so far

      @WPDownUnder To keep customers from <A HREF="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/the-truth-about-tethering-pay-up-or-you-are-a-thief/1749">becoming thieves</A>.
      ldo17
  • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

    <I>"Reuters reported earlier this week that Messagenet, an Italian Skype rival, had sought European Union antitrust regulators to block Microsofts Skype acquisition because of potential antitrust issues around the bundling of Skype with Windows."</I><br><br>Waaa waaa waaa.

    Will it prevent me from using their service? No? Then I see no problem there.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

      @Cylon Centurion
      +1
      Ram U
    • Im reminded of a certain crybaby that wanted

      @Cylon Centurion

      a browser ballot screen. That really worked out for them.
      otaddy
      • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

        @otaddy

        Yeah, exactly. Is Microsoft the only kid on the block that isn't allowed to buy other services? Skype is a huge deal and would make a nice addition to Microsoft's services.

        Who these people are, I'll never know. But Skype is the industry leader when it comes to VoIP. Having Skype integrated isn't going to prevent me from using other services though. If you want more users then it's time to compete, not cry about being in last place.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Realy?

        @otaddy there have been plenty of Antitrust rulings against MS in America too! Are they cry baby's as well?
        jdbukis@...
    • Did you read the article?

      @Cylon Centurion

      Because you missed the "Messagenet also is seeking guarantees that Microsoft won???t block the ability of third-parties to integrate with Skype" bit which seems a fair complaint.
      jdbukis@...
  • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

    Mary
    Thank you very much for the update. I am for one looking forward for digital-ink support in OneNote. That is cool update.
    Ram U
  • Couple of additional points. First if you want the 10 free downloads per

    month from zune you need to sign up before Oct 3rd. Second it's only $15 a month if you sign up for the 3 month cycle. If you have a brain and sign up for the 12 month cycle it's only $12.50 a month, so only $2.50 more for the 10 downloads.
    Second what a bunch of cry babies messagenet is. How about you make your service 1000x better than skype? then the market will flock to it in droves and youll have big companies interested in you or youll become one yourselves. Quit crying and compete on merit. Like skype did.
    Third, please MS bring us an updated Media Center in Win8. We want media center greatness WITHOUT XBOX. Fix SL/Netflix, the directx/driver/gpu resetting bugs, etc. and make it more f'ing awesome than it already is. Target a whole home shared dvr and media catalog entertainment experience with xbox only required for game playing, not general media consumption.
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

    MJ: Any idea on when the changes are coming to xbox?
    rmark@...
  • Skype vs. third parties - see Asterisk

    So Messagenet also is seeking guarantees that Microsoft won???t block the ability of third-parties to integrate with Skype. They already did. The first news after the acquisition announcement was Skype would no longer work with Asterisk, the top open source phone system.
    AES2
  • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

    "Note: These are updates to Office Web Apps that are accessible via SkyDrive, not for all versions of Office Web Apps."

    Yeah, these guys know what they're doing in the cloud. rolleyes.
    solomonrex
  • RE: A possible Microsoft-Skype acquisition hurdle and other Microsoft news of the week

    I dont think eu is real serious about antitrust. They have already approved <a href="http://www.webmastersitesi.com/tam-indir/166898-skype-5-5-indir.htm" rel="muse">skype</a> deal anyway.
    johndavidov
  • hrt7yrt

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    linbbee
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