Microsoft has just decided that having the European Union to approve its LinkedIn acquisition is worth getting into healthy competitive attempts.
Microsoft has finally elected to allow LinkedIn's rivals some access to its software. More so, it would allow hardware manufacturers the choice of installing third-party apps and services.
Such concessions were already presented to the European Union for approval. The committee watching over the acquisition deal would give its final ruling by Dec. 6.
After rivals expressed concerns to EU regarding the $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, which is also Microsoft's most expensive acquisition to date, the company has finally presented its concessions to the EU last week.
Is Microsoft Bribing The EU?
Microsoft has reportedly agreed to allow other professional social networks access to its Outlook application programming interface (APIs), which allows various programs to communicate with each other, and Outlook add-in programs after its union with LinkedIn.
Currently, some rival social networks already have access to these Outlook services and programs.
Additionally, Microsoft has promised to allow third-party manufactures including Hewlett Packard (HP) Enterprise Co. and Dell Inc. to disable the LinkedIn shortcut on its desktops and laptops. This resolution came after a European Union antitrust decision condemned Microsoft in 2004 for bundling unnecessary programs into its Windows operating systems.
However, none of these concessions would offer Microsoft's rivals direct access to LinkedIn's pool of data, which Salesforce.com Inc. publicly pressed for but lost to Microsoft on its bid to acquire LinkedIn. Furthermore, no third-party entities currently has unlimited access to LinkedIn's data trove other than Microsoft.
Could Microsoft Get EU's Approval?
Meanwhile, the European Union has been looking for feedback from LinkedIn's rivals and consumers before finalizing its decision on whether to deny or accept Microsoft's concessions, demand for more privileges or even begin an investigation.
If worst comes to worst and the EU commission would choose to investigate, this could stall the deal for almost five months. Notably, Microsoft has been fined at least $2.8 billion in the past decade for many infringements including tying products to Windows-operated computers that lead to stifled competition.
Experts believe that even though Microsoft acquires LinkedIn, other social networks that already have access to Microsoft's APIs could still keep on having this benefit. In addition, Microsoft's concession mentioned that computer hardware manufacturers would be free to install LinkedIn or its rival social apps on computers powered by a Windows operating system.
Currently, majority of LinkedIn's $3 billion annual profit comes from recruiters and job hunters paying monthly subscription fees to submit and post resumes connecting with people around the world. Tying this with Microsoft could increase the annual revenue for the company.
Microsoft has already received approval from the US, Brazil, South Africa, and Canada, and would be waiting for the EU's decision before the year ends.