Prince Charles conducts his first-ever Skype call. Cisco wishes it had been to one of its phones. (Photo: Skype)
Just when it looked like things were all sewn up for Microsoft’s $8.5 billion Skype acquisition, Cisco has launched a last minute appeal, asking the European Commission to step in and do what it does best: regulate.
Last October, Microsoft officially welcomed Skype onboard, after the deal was approved by U.S. regulators, and the European Commission. But interested parties had until Thursday to appeal the European Commission’s approval, and that’s just what Cisco did today. European VOIP-seller Messagenet has also signed on to the appeal.
The move could dump some serious red tape on Microsoft’s lap.
Cisco says it doesn’t want to kill the Skype merger outright. It wants European regulators to force Microsoft to make Skype play nicely with products such as Cisco’s video conferencing products. These include the Cisco IP Phones, WebEx, and TelePresence
“Imagine how difficult it would be if you were limited to calling people who only use the same carrier or if your phone could only call certain brands and not others,” wrote Marthin De Beer, Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Video and Collaboration Group in a blog posting. “Cisco wants to avoid this future for video communications.”
Skype doesn’t seem to think the appeal will work. “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,” Skype said in a statement. “We’re confident the Commission’s decision will stand up on appeal.”