Everything is rosy in Redmond today. In one of Steve Ballmer's last stands before handing the reigns to someone else, a European court ruled against claims made by Cisco that Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype would amount to an anti-competitive advantage. With the decision, Microsoft is free to continue marketing Skype's video calls to consumers and businesses without making concessions to Cisco or other competitors.
Cisco mounted the challenge last year, at the time urging the European Commission to implement restrictions on the takeover to prevent Microsoft from ever being able to have a monopoly on the future of video communications, Reuters reports.
"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," Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's video and collaboration group, wrote in February 2012, according to AllThingsD. "Cisco wants to avoid this future."
Cisco failed to convince the Luxembourg-based General Court that Microsoft's deal with Skype would ultimately harm competition.
"Today's judgment by the EU General Court confirms that the Commission was correct in its assessment that the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area," the EU antitrust regulator said in a statement following today's ruling.
In March of this year, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner stated that over 280 million users spend more than 100 minutes per month making voice calls via Skype.