Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

Summary: Cisco is asking EU antitrust authorities to impose interoperability guarantees on Microsoft around its coming Skype technologies and integrations.

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Microsoft rival Cisco is asking European antitrust regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft regarding its Skype acquisition on February 15, four months after the European Commission approved the $8.5 billion Microsoft acquisition of Skype.

Cisco made the case for interoperability requirements in a February 15 post on the Cisco Corporate blog. According to the Cisco post, a European ISP, Messagenet, has joined with Cisco in its appeal to the EC authorities.

Though a headline on AllThingsD -- "Cisco Appeals Europe’s Approval of Microsoft’s $8.5 Billion Skype Acquisition" -- at first made me think Cisco was asking the EC to rethink its approval, the story makes the point that this isn't the case. Cisco is instead focusing on the "without conditions" part of the EC approval of the merger.

From the AllThingsD story:

"Cisco doesn’t want the merger rescinded, but rather wants the EC to impose some interoperability conditions on Microsoft. Part of Microsoft’s plan with Skype has been to combine it with its Lync video and voice calling software for businesses. Both Lynch and Skype use their own proprietary calling technologies and so aren’t compatible with other video and calling services."

EU regulatory clearance of the Microsoft-Skype deal was announced in October 2011 — just a couple of weeks after an Italian Skype rival raised concerns over Microsoft’s bundling plans for the technology. U.S. antitrust authorities  granted their approval of Microsoft’s Skype buy in June, 2011. Microsoft took over the operation of Skype in October 2011.

Microsoft is expected to launch a Skype app for Windows Phone in the early part of this year, possibly at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona at the end of this month. Lync-Skype integration is also in the works, as is Xbox Live-Skype integration, Microsoft officials have said.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson sent the following statement regarding Cisco's action today:

“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.”

Topics: Security, Banking, Cisco, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, 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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29 comments
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  • time to break up M$

    so it can compete fairly.
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @The Linux Geek
      Time for you to go troll somewhere else.
      hopp64
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @The Linux Geek
      Hey, that's cool! You used a dollar sign to represent the "S" in Microsoft. Like it's a company that makes money or something. Clever!
      Johnula
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @The Linux Geek
      go and bang your head on the wall... so that you may have a chance to get some common sense back...
      owlnet
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    Both Lynch and Skype use their own own proprietary calling technologies and so aren???t compatible with other [proprietary?] video and calling services.???
    William Farrel
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    I used to be a big fan of Cisco, but after reading this not anymore. Cisco wants to end competition before it even starts so they can get the majority share of video services. I'm also betting Cisco is not going to open up their video and calling services. Lets hope the EU does not side with Cisco, but given that its a complaint against Microsoft they probably will.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @Loverock Davidson- ... I really don't take it that way. As MJF points out, the point being argued is that they want Microsoft to have to "play well with others" by making the Lync-Skype video codecs available to competitors to use for interoperability. That's actually a good thing, because it would allow the competing products to play together instead of against each other. I'm OK with that.
      GoodThings2Life
      • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

        @GoodThings2Life<br>The problem is that MS spent $8.5 billions for the customer base, patents, and codecs. It seems strange for them to open up the codec for anyone to implement at no cost, unless of course, Cisco is willing to license it at a cost. Besides, Cisco had a chance to ask for conditions before the purchase was approved. Now, they're crying and wanting an appeal. You may be okay with it, but I'm not so sure if I would be okay with it if I were in MS position.
        KevinN206
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    and this is why we cant have nice stuff, specially being a Microsoft user. <br><br>Stupid Cisco, only because they didn't buy skype now or dont have something equivalent to skype in marketshare for how too many people use it... well now they complain about what Microsoft can do with their software... so stupid.
    Emi Cyberschreiber
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    Dear EU, we know we can't really compete so please force the competition to do everything for us....
    NoAxToGrind
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @NoAxToGrind let's wait for christmas and see who has been the bad boy..
      Peter Lex
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    Yes we could have bought Skype, but its sooo much nicer having someone else foot the bill for us...
    NoAxToGrind
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    Are there standards for video calls now and does anyone follow them? Is Lync or Skype currently compatible with the Cisco equivalents? I don't think so.. I think that this is just a grab for part of the pie that they didn't think was necessary before.. You lose in the marketplace and now want the lawmakers to enforce others to give up their market share that they either earned or purchased a great product that is a market leader.
    I guess it never hurts to ask, they might say "Yes".. If you don't ask, you don't get.
    ve3ofa
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    Don't know what's the problem of Cisco. <br>For voice, both Lycn and Skype (thru Skype connect) support SIP integration and Cisco already covered both area:<br><br><a href="http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/business/skype-connect/#t_overview" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/business/skype-connect/#t_overview</a><br><a href="http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11390/index.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11390/index.html</a><br><br>Unless Microsoft changed something that would breaks current Skype or Lync customers, I don't see what Cisco is worrying about.<br><br>Oh yeah, WebEx stinks. (Althought MS Livemeeting sucks more) <br>I'd rather use gotomeeting.

    As for video calling. We don't have "standard" protocol (codec yes, protocol no) so what makes it more different than now? Even Cisco themselves doesn't integrate well with others and now they decided to cast the first stone?
    Samic
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @Samic I cannot _imagine_ Microsoft changing the implementation of a "standard" which would cause other "compeitor's" software to no longer work. That would never happen....
      tbuccelli
  • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

    Video calling needs to be standardized so you don't have to worry about who's got skype, face time, google talk etc.
    txscott
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @rshol I do not see why. it is standartized to the point that it can play on iPad, Android, Win8, iOS. There has to be something to be able to compete. Only a client software is not enough to win the market.
      pupkin_z
      • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

        @pupkin_z Given Microsoft's past actions, I think it's reasonable to ask for some kind of guarantee that Microsoft will not use Skype as a cudgel against competitors.
        Third of Five
    • RE: Cisco asks European regulators to impose conditions on Microsoft-Skype

      @rshol

      So, then, the greater marketshare should then 'win'. I don't recall EVER using a Cisco equivalent. Skype, check. Lync, check. FaceTime, check... This seems like a push for least common denominator in tech and share.

      "It gives me a migraine headache
      Sinking down to your level
      Yea, just keep on thinking it's my fault
      And stay an inch or two outta kicking distance"

      Copyright: Lyrics ?? EMI Music Publishing
      Songwriters: MUSTAINE, DAVE
      TechNickle
  • Sweaty, ugly, angry mess...that's Ballmer

    Why can't he be in one picture where he doesn't look like George the Animal Steele in a dress shirt?
    SamWilkinson