Cisco appeal of Microsoft/Skype to be heard this week

Seeks to annul unconditional aspect of union

Cisco is reportedly attempting to persuade Europe's second-highest court that it should overturn the European Union's approval of the Microsoft/Skype union, an $8.5 billion blockbuster originally announced by the companies two years ago.

Europe's second-highest court this week will hear Cisco's 15-month-old appeal of the European Union's approval of the $8.5 billion marriage between Microsoft and Skype.

Cisco is attempting to persuade Europe's second-highest court that it should overturn the European Union's approval of the Microsoft/Skype union, according to Reuters. Cisco is expected to argue that the combined company's dominant share in the unified communications market encouraged it to refuse to provide any information on how rivals could work with the merged firm's products.

As a condition of its acquisition of videoconferencing leader Tandberg, Cisco promised to surrender its Telepresence Interoperability Protocol to the open source community so third-parties could create add-ons for Cisco Telepresence.

[ NON-BUYER'S REMORSE? Cisco on Microsoft/Skype: Sour grapes? ]

The European Commission allowed Microsoft to buy Skype without having to make any concessions, according to Reuters. If Cisco wins the challenge -- the company is appealing together with Italian fixed-line and Internet telephone provider Messagenet SpA -- the EC would have to annul its decision, according to the Reuters account.

Cisco confirmed that its appeal will be heard this week.

Cisco and Messagenet will argue that the EC "made several 'manifest errors'" in examining the Microsoft-Skype deal, according to Reuters. Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype after Cisco evaluated acquiring the company but decided not to.

The last time a company successfully challenged an EC merger-approval decision at the court was in 2002 in a case involving the Sony Music and BMG record labels, according to Reuters. In the vast majority of cases, the court rules with the Commission, Reuters states.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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