Cisco Appeals to EC on Microsoft Skype Buy

Cisco Systems wants the European Commission to review its approval of Microsoft's acquisition of Skype.

In a blog post today, Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of the Cisco Emerging Business Group, indicated that Cisco had lodged an appeal with the EC. He said that "the European Commission should have placed conditions that would ensure greater standards-based interoperability, to avoid any one company from being able to seek to control the future of video communications."

Details about exactly which standards Cisco wanted supported weren't specified. Skype uses its own proprietary and closed source Skype Protocol technology, which enables voice-over-IP calls across the Internet via peer-to-peer connections. Skype uses G.729 and SVOPC audio codecs for voice chats. For video, it uses the open source VP8 codec fostered by Google, plus the proprietary H.264 codec for high-definition video, according to a description compiled by Wikipedia.

The Skype service works across multiple platforms, including mobile devices and Sony PlayStation gaming consoles. According to comments made in May by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Skype's technologies may be rolled into certain Microsoft products, such as Outlook, Xbox, Kinect, Messenger, Hotmail and Lync.

Lync is Microsoft unified messaging platform for business users, but Microsoft has typically explained the Skype acquisition as enabling broader connections for organizations using Lync. Skype is primarily a consumer service that gives Microsoft access to about 170 million Skype subscribers. (Skype's numbers vary, with the company having said it had 30 million simultaneous users on Skype back in March.)

De Beer said that Cisco was only focused on "securing standards-based interoperability in the video calling space" in lodging its appeal with the European Commission. He also complained about potential vendor lock-in with the integration of Skype into Lync.

"Microsoft’s plans to integrate Skype exclusively with its Lync Enterprise Communications Platform could lock-in businesses who want to reach Skype's 700 million account holders to a Microsoft-only platform."

The European Commission dismissed competition concerns back in October when it approved Microsoft's acquisition of Skype. It said at that time that Skype was a consumer product and that Microsoft's Lync faced adequate competition in the enterprise space from companies like Cisco. The U.S. regulatory approval of the deal happened earlier in June. The $8.5 billion deal was announced in May, representing Microsoft's largest acquisition purchase in its company history.

Microsoft issued a general statement to various media outlets, claiming that it will prevail against Cisco's appeal.

"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," Microsoft's statement read.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


  • Gears

    Top 10 Microsoft Tips and Analyses of 2018

    Here are the year's most popular explainers and how-to columns -- along with some plain, old "Why did Microsoft do that?" musings thrown in.

  • Sign

    2018 Microsoft Predictions Revisited

    From guessing the fate of Windows 10 S to predicting Microsoft's next big move with Linux, Brien's predictions from a year ago were on the mark more than they weren't.

  • Microsoft Recaps Delivery Optimization Bandwidth Controls for Organizations

    Microsoft expects organizations using its Delivery Optimization peer-to-peer update scheme will optimally see 60 percent to 70 percent improvements in terms of network bandwidth use.

  • Getting a Handle on Hyper-V Virtual NICs

    Hyper-V usually makes it easy to configure virtual network adapters within VMs. That is, until you need to create a VM containing multiple virtual NICs.

comments powered by Disqus
Most   Popular

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.