The European Commission (EC) has approved Microsoft’s deal for Nokia after concluding it would not generate any competition issues in the smartphone or wider technology market.
The deal was first announced back in September for €5.44bn and has since been approved by both companies' shareholders and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The EC said after considering the agreement, it does not believe Microsoft will try and use the deal in any anti-competitive practices as, in a twist on its position in the 1990s, it is too far behind in the market to be able to act in this manner.
“Microsoft is unlikely to restrict the supply of its Windows OS for smart mobile devices to third-party device manufacturers after the transaction,” it said.
“Indeed, Microsoft's share in the mobile OS market is limited. Moreover, to better compete with the leading Android and Apple OS platforms, Microsoft likely needs to continue relying on third-party device suppliers to broaden consumer adoption and attract mobile app developers.”
It also noted that services such as Skype, owned by Microsoft, are unlikely to become limited to the Windows Phone platform after the deal, as the firm needs wider adoption of these tools for its broader requirements.
“Microsoft is unlikely to restrict the supply of its mobile apps, such as its Office suite apps and its communication app Skype, to competing providers of smart mobile devices,” it added.
This endorsement marks the last major approval for the deal and will allow Microsoft to focus on building its smartphone position as it struggles to compete with rival Android vendors and Apple.
It comes amid ongoing changes at Microsoft as it seeks a new CEO. The shortlist of candidates is said to have been whittled to two, with Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally and Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella believed to be the final candidates left.
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