An Italian software company has filed a complaint in Europe over Microsoft’s purchase of Skype.
Messagenet, a software firm based in Milan, is attempting to block Microsoft’s Skype deal over concerns the U.S. software giant might bundle Skype with its Windows operating system. The New York Times reports that Messagenet filed its complaint on September 20. Microsoft is expected to close its Skype acquisition in October. E.U. competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, plans to reveal his decision on the takeover on October 7. The latest complaint could delay Microsoft’s deal and force the European Commission to consider any issues raised from Messagenet’s concerns. Messagenet also wants Microsoft to open up Skype’s Internet phone network to allow rival services to connect calls to Skype users. Microsoft issued the following statement in relation to Messagenet’s complaint:
“Skype is a valuable and popular product that Microsoft will continue to supply as such. The proposed acquisition is still undergoing regulatory review and we are working closely with the agencies. Until all regulatory approvals are obtained, it is business as usual at Microsoft and at Skype.”
The software giant announced its intentions to purchase Skype in May. Microsoft’s deal is valued at $8.5 billion cash and will see Skype CEO Tony Bates assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division. Bates will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Microsoft says Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stamped its approval on the deal in June. Microsoft is now waiting on European Commission approval before it can part with $8.5 billion for its purchase of Skype. Microsoft has no plans to alter Skype’s branding. Microsoft is getting “one of the greatest brands in the consumer Internet space,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates in a recent interview. “It is a verb. People talk about it in that way. They say Skype me.” Bates reassured Skype users that nothing will change, “you can expect strong commitment to the brand,” he added.
Skype currently has 170 million connected users and saw over 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 alone. Microsoft’s promise for Windows Phone, Xbox and Kinect Skype integration confirms that the company will look to use Skype broadly across its products. Skype was originally founded in 2003 and acquired by eBay in September 2005. An investment group led by Silver Lake acquired Skype in 2009. Microsoft refused to provide any comment on Friday regarding the FTC approval