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Cisco Challenges Microsoft/Skype Deal

Jeff Baumgartner
News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
2/15/2012
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In a clash of tech titans, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is appealing the European Commission 's approval of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s proposed $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype Ltd.

Cisco thinks the EC should require Microsoft to conform to standards that would let other video conferencing products -- such as, oh, maybe, Cisco's TelePresence -- work with Skype's popular platform. Messagenet, a European VoIP service provider, is joining Cisco in the appeal.

"Cisco does not oppose the merger," Marthin De Beer, SVP of Cisco's Emerging Business Group, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. Rather, Cisco wants the EC to take steps "to avoid any one company from being able to seek to control the future of video communications," he wrote.

Cisco is particularly fearful that Microsoft intends to integrate Skype exclusively with its Lync Enterprise Communications Platform and "lock-in" businesses that want to reach Skype's universe of 700 million-plus account holders, De Beer added. [Ed. Note: Openness? Standards? For a moment there this was starting to sound like a complaint from a set-top vendor trying to crack the Cisco-Motorola Mobility LLC duopoly in the U.S. cable market.]

Why this matters
Microsoft gained EC approval last fall, but Cisco's plea, if successful, could delay the deal and cause Microsoft to comply with integration and standards requirements.

For more
Catch up on the Microsoft-Skype deal and some recent interest in it from the cable world.



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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