Microsoft's Skype approval may be inching closer (and more news from around the Web)

Microsoft's planned acquisition of Skype looks to be inching closer. Microsoft also is making positioning moves in the embedded space and is working with Nitobi on an HTML5 framework for its Windows Phone platform.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Here's a quick round-up of various Microsoft news tidbits from around the Web, as we head into a busy Microsoft news week with the Build conference kicking off on September 13.

Finalization of Microsoft's Skype purchase-approval is moving forward: The folks over at Skype Journal noted last week a small update in the progress towards Microsoft closing on its proposed Skype acquisition. There's now an "October 7" deadline noted in the EU mergers and aquisitions listings for Microsoft-Skype. As noted in the related "Voice On The Web" post, that doesn't necessarily mean the acquisition will get the nod on or before that date. The European antitrust watchers could OK the deal with conditions, announce there will be further investigation or even deny approval. US regulators approved the $8.5 billion deal in June.

While on the topic of Microsoft's communications products and strategy, some eagle-eyed readers noticed that Microsoft recently moved managerial responsibility for its Lync unified-communications product under Corporate Vice President Derek Burney. So what happened to Gurdeep Singh Pall, whose bio on Microsoft's site still lists him as head of Lync? Singh Pall, who "was involved in the early stages of the Skype acquisition," is still a Corporate Vice President, but now dedicated to "working on Skype strategy," a company spokesperson said when I asked.

Microsoft jumps on the M2M bandwagon: Microsoft is honing the positioning of its Embedded Systems division (which the Softies moved under the Server and Tools Business unit in September 2010). Late last week, company officials said Redmond is developing an advanced machine-to-machine (M2M) connection manager, code-named “Pontecchio,” that's designed "to streamline the way devices connect to network services in order to make the data streams more predictable and efficient." Microsoft also played up the STB synergies in last week's press release, noting that the team will be leveraging the compan's security In addition, Microsoft is investing in security and identity-management technologies to make sure all the data streams generated by embedded devices can operate seamlessly with on-premise, private and public cloud services. Nitobi to release PhoneGap HTML5 development framework for Windows Phone: There's a beta version of Nitobi's open-source HTML5 development framework available as of last week for Windows Phone programmers. Microsoft's not the only recent PhoneGap backer: Rivals Salesforce and Adobe already have been doing mobile-development work involving Nitobi's framework.

While talking Windows Phone, there are rumors circulating that the "Mango" release may "drop" on September 15. Word is that the final version of the Mango developer tools could be out by then. I'm assuming "drop," in this case, means it will begin to be pushed by Microsoft to existing Windows Phone users in certain countries and via certain carriers, since Microsoft already released to manufacturing in July the Mango (Windows Phone OS 7.1) bits. I'm betting European and Australian Windows Phone customers will see the Mango bits sooner than those of us in the U.S. will...

Microsoft and Nokia continue ahead with plans for Office on Symbian: Despite Nokia's "We're All In" stance in regards to Windows Phone, the company is continuing to work with Microsoft on bringing Office to the Symbian platform. The Nokia-Microsoft partnership for Office Mobile and Communicator on Symbian was announced back in 2009.

Last week, the Microsoft Office team provided an update on the two-year-old partnership in a new blog post: "OneNote, Lync 2010, Microsoft Document Connection (which provides SharePoint access) and PowerPoint Broadcast for Nokia Symbian phones will be available by the end of this year.  Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Nokia Symbian phones are all slated for availability next year. These apps will ship via an update to Nokia phones running Symbian Belle (operating system), and on new Nokia phones shipping with Symbian Belle," according to the Softies.

Microsoft extends Sync Framework coverage to non-Windows platforms: Remember Sync Framework -- Microsoft's service for allowing developers to add synchronization, roaming and offline access to apps, services and devices? There's a just-released toolkit for Sync Framework  2.1 that adds support for a number of offline clients, including Silverlight, Windows Phone 7, and Windows Mobile. The toolkit also addresses "non-Microsoft platforms such as iPhone, Android, and Blackberry can be utilized as well as HTML.," a new blog post notes. (I'm thinking this may be mentioned during Build this week).

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