Microsoft's $8.5 billion (£5.4 billion) takeover of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) specialist Skype has been approved by the European Commission (EC). The body has claimed that the acquisition would not restrict competition in the online communications technology marketplace because there is plenty of end user choice when it comes to VoIP solutions.
In a statement issued by the EC, the organisation said: "The deal would not impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it." US approval of Microsoft's bid for Skype came in June of this year, suggesting that EC approval was set to follow.
A spokesperson for Microsoft said the decision would mark an important milestone in the company's evolution. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said: "We look forward to completing soon the final steps needed to close the acquisition."
Meanwhile, Skype has been at the centre of a security scandal after a German hacking group, the Chaos Computer Club, claimed that the online communications service was open to attack and users could end up being spied upon by governments after it uncovered a surveillance Trojan designed for "lawful interception".