updated 06:40 pm EDT, Fri June 17, 2011
FTC approves Microsoft's Skype takeover
The FTC on Friday said it had given approval to Microsoft's buyout of Skype. The clearance determined that the deal wouldn't create any significant anti-competitive issues. The filing didn't say whether other agencies had to close the deal, which Microsoft had only said would be approved by the end of 2011.
Many have raised alarms over the deal given that Microsoft would take ownership of the dominant Internet calling company. It could theoretically use the deal to cut off support for other platforms, particularly Android and the iPhone, or else give favorable treatment for Windows Phone and other core platforms. Microsoft has insisted it would support other platforms but has had a poor track record of this in the past: it infamously undersupported Sidekick servers and may have knowingly snubbed the Danger team by making them restart work on the Kin to use Windows CE instead of their own code.
Skype may still have some autonomy since it's being run as its own division and won't necessarily be forced to submit to the Windows or Office teams. Its acquisition is expected mostly to help make voice and video chat staples of Windows Phone and improve inter-office collaboration apps.
The deal may also have been an attempt to prevent Google from making the first move. Leaks have suggested Microsoft blocked other bidders to prevent a last-minute loss, although this may have cost it billions of dollars that weren't needed to secure a deal.