Not that many expected any major hurdles, or any hurdles for that matter, but Redmond can now go on with its plan to purchase Nokia’s smartphone business. The European Commission has finally given the go-ahead for the deal.
The approximately $7.4 billion transaction is now expected to be complete in early 2014, as planned.
In its decision, the European Commission says that it sees no antitrust issues with the deal, as Microsoft is unlikely to restrict the supply of its Windows operating system for smartphones to third party manufacturers after the transaction. Of course!
The same holds true for the Office suite of productivity apps and communication service Skype. In fact, Redmond has already announced its plans to bring more apps to competing platforms. As EU explains:
“Since Office apps are currently not available on tablets running third party OSs, a potential supply restriction would be limited to other tablet suppliers using Microsoft’s Windows OSs.
However, this strategy would hamper Microsoft’s interest to attract more app developers and ultimately users to its OSs for smart mobile devices. For smartphones, the share of Office apps is minimal and there are many popular competing apps.”
Companies like Samsung and Apple, the European Commission maintains, will be able to compete with the merged entity after Microsoft takes over Nokia. Both companies are noted to be among the top providers of smartphones, and this deal, the EU says will not change that.
This was actually the last major milestone in Microsoft’s buyout of Nokia’s devices and services unit, and the company should be very pleased with the approval.
Expect an official statement or two on this soon.