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Microsoft’s Concessions to EU Include Special Outlook Deal

European Commission photo

Microsoft is promising the European Commission it will offer its rivals access to its Outlook add-ins program in a bid to get the agency to sign off on its $26-billion acquisition of professional social network LinkedIn.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft’s offer means that profiles from rival social networks would be able to appear in Outlook.

The software giant has said it will also permit PC makers such as Dell and HP to disable a LinkedIn shortcut that is packaged on the desktop of some computers.

Microsoft recently met with European Commission officials to discuss a deal in a bid to avoid anti-trust charges as well as the resulting fine. Until now, however, the media had no idea what concessions Microsoft had offered.

Microsoft in June announced its intention to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash. The deal is Microsoft’s largest acquisition to-date, and would give the software king access to the professional social network’s 433 million members.

Microsoft’s success in wooing LinkedIn left Salesforce, which also tried to acquire the professional social networking firm, out in the cold.

Since then, Salesforce has been vocal in its opposition of the deal, asking regulators to block it, saying that rivals will not be given access to LinkedIn’s dataset of users.

Salesforce said if it had purchased LinkedIn it would “have used the data within our own services appropriately and also licensed it to others,” adding the “chances of Microsoft doing the same without government intervention are slim.” It is not known if Microsoft plans to address that concern.

The Commission, which will rule on the matter by Dec. 6, will first seek feedback from rivals and customers before deciding if it will accept Microsoft’s concessions. If it does not accept them, the Commission could demand more concessions or opt to embark on a full investigation.

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.