Microsoft has gained approval from EU regulators for its $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition, clearing a big hurdle for finalizing the deal. With the European Commission's approval, Microsoft now has the go-ahead from the necessary regulators and expects the deal to "close in the coming days."
In order to gain approval from the European Commission, Microsoft did have to make some concessions. In a blog outlining the details, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith noted the company committed to the following for the next five years:
- We'll continue to make our Office Add-in program available to third-party professional social networking services. The Office Add-in program enables developers to integrate their services into Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel, providing users an enhanced experience using Office. As we continue to improve this program, these improvements will be available to third-party professional social networking services.
- We'll continue to make promotional opportunities in the Office Store available to third-party professional social networking services.
- We'll ensure that IT administrators and users can customize their Office experience by choosing whether to display in the user interface the LinkedIn profile and activity information that may be integrated in the future.
- If we develop a LinkedIn application or a tile for Windows PCs and include it in Windows, we'll allow PC manufacturers to choose not to install them on their Windows PCs in the European Economic Area, or EEA. Similarly, we'll ensure that users can uninstall the application and tile if they wish. We also won't use Windows itself to prompt users to install a LinkedIn application, although it can remain available in the Windows Store and be promoted in other ways.
- In the EEA we won't enter into agreements with PC manufacturers for pre-installation of a Windows LinkedIn application or tile that would favor LinkedIn on an exclusive basis and thereby bar the distribution of competing professional social networking services.
Microsoft initially announced its intentions to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion earlier in June. Interestingly, Salesforce was also interested in acquiring the business-themed social network, and was even prepared to pay more than Microsoft.
As noted by Smith, the acquisition is expected to close in the coming days.
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