EUROPEAN REGULATORS have given Microsoft's $7.3bn acquisition of Nokia's mobile devices unit the thumbs up, having decided that it would not harm competition.
Microsoft's Nokia buyout was brought to light in September, and on Monday it was approved by the US Federal Trade Commission.
The European Commission (EC) said on Wednesday that it has also given the green light to the transacton, deciding that it would not generate competition issues in the smartphone or wider technology markets.
The EC said in a statement, "The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns, in particular because there are only modest overlaps between the parties' activities and the links between Microsoft's mobile operating systems, mobile applications and enterprise mail server software with Nokia's smart mobile devices are unlikely to lead to competitors being shut out from the market."
The regulators also said that they don't believe that Microsoft will shun other third party manufacturers following its acqusition of Nokia, noting that the company is too far behind in the market to do so.
The EC said, "Microsoft is unlikely to restrict the supply of its Windows [operating systems] for smart mobile devices to third party device manufacturers after the transaction. Indeed, Microsoft's share in the mobile OS market is limited.
"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.
The EC isn't completely happy, though, and said that it will keep a keen eye on Nokia's post-merger licensing practices once it falls under the Microsoft brand.
With all approval boxes now ticked, it's expected that Microsoft's Nokia acquisition will be completed in the first quarter of 2014. µ
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