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Reasons Why Cisco Is Wary of the Marriage between Microsoft and Skype

February 21, 2012

Cisco just had a talk with the European Commission, urging them to look twice at their approval of Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, valued at $8.5 billion. Cisco argues that Microsoft is going to make it difficult for other VoIP providers, since Skype has always had integration with Microsoft's Lync in mind. Many companies have prevented affordable (or free) services from working properly under the premise of unfair competition. Cisco believes that Microsoft should take advantage of open video calling standards that allow video calls to work easily.

Analysts within the industry believe that end users will ultimately dictate which company becomes the most dominant. They seem to trust the consumer. Cisco, however, went to the General Court of the European Union earlier this week to appeal the merger between Microsoft and Skype. The United States already approved the measure last year, however. Cisco believes 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." The words came from SVP of Cisco video and collaboration, Marthin De Beer.

Microsoft commented on the issue, saying that "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."

Henry Dewing, one of the analysts at Forrester Research, agrees with Cisco, arguing that Lync makes it difficult for users to access other services besides Skype, although it's possible. He continues: "If Link/Skype were to not embrace open industry standards... then the responsibility to configure and maintain a set of capabilities would be on the individual customers. Technically this interoperability is possible today, but leaving the responsibility to maintain interoperability [to the customers] is likely to lead to failures."

Miguel Leiva-Gomez is a professional writer with experience in computer sciences, technology, and gadgets. He has written for multiple technology and travel outlets and owns his own tech blog called The Tech Guy, where he writes educational, informative, and sometimes comedic articles for an audience that is less versed in technology.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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