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October 6, 2011

Microsoft-Skype deal to be cleared by EU: report

Google's $700m acquisition of ITA Software cleared by US judge

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft is set to win the EU apporoval in its bid to buy Skype.

The company announced in May a $8.5bn deal to acquire the internet telephone service provider. Microsft could be closing the transaction by the end of this year, as it is expected to get clearance from the EU’s competition commission soon.

The Financial Times reported, citing sources that say Joaquin Almunia, the competition commissioner in Brussels, is expected to approve the deal without any conditions over antitrust concerns.

The report said, Almunia is to give the green light to the proposed deal without any remedies, in spite of complaints from would-be rivals over Microsoft "bundling" the software with Windows.

Earlier the deal had been approved by the US Federal Trade Commission, which allowed the deal, saying that there was sufficient competition from rival online services such as Google Talk.

Opponents of the Microsoft-Skype deal – including Messagenet – had argued that Microsoft was again "bundling" software.

Microsoft replied, saying that there are several platforms for Skype in today’s world, and that putting together Skype would make its products more popular than they are now. The company said that Skype would be available on Apple iOS and Google’s Android as well.

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Competition reviews of the deal are still under way in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Google’s $700m purchase of travel-search company ITA Software was cleared by a federal judge after Google said that it agreed to conditions imposed by the US government.

The deal was opposed by a a group of companies including Microsoft, and Expedia who fought against the deal as

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