THE EUROPEAN UNION has given the thumbs up to Microsoft's $26bn acquisition of professional social network LinkedIn in an apparent win for Brexit and Trump supporters.
We knew this was coming, and Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, announced that approval had been given in a blog post.
"It was roughly six months ago, on June 13, that we announced that Microsoft would acquire LinkedIn. At that time, we said that we aimed to close the deal by the end of the year," he said.
"Today, the European Commission (EC) announced that it has cleared the acquisition. As a result, we've now obtained all of the regulatory approvals needed to complete the acquisition, and the deal will close in the coming days."
The EC's approval didn't come cheap, though. In a bid to avoid any anti-competition red flags being waves, Microsoft has pledged to give LinkedIn's rivals access to its software such as its Outlook, giving them the tools to integrate Outlook APIs into their services.
The firm has also promised that it'll give hardware makers the option of installing competing social networks on PCs after the acquisition is complete, adding that OEMs will also be given the ability to disable a LinkedIn shortcut that's packaged on the desktop of some machines.
Still, Microsoft is pleased with the approval and thinks that Brexit and Donald Trump supports will join it in welcoming the closure of the deal. Er.
"In June, Satya Nadella and Jeff Weiner, the CEOs of Microsoft and LinkedIn, announced their shared vision for bringing together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network.
"Just ten days after they announced this combination, voters in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. And roughly five months after that, a tumultuous presidential election campaign in the United States came to a close.
"On both sides of the Atlantic, it has become increasingly apparent that many people feel left out and unable to participate in the economic growth and opportunities created by the rising digital economy."
Naturally, Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn is the answer to the problem.
"Microsoft and LinkedIn together have a bigger opportunity to help people online to develop and earn credentials for new skills, identify and pursue new jobs, and become more creative and productive as they work with their colleagues," Smith said. µ
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