The European Commission has approved the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn, subject to conditions. The approval follows an investigation by the European Commission into how Microsoft could use its strong market position to expand the userbase on LinkedIn. The commission was concerned about the effect on competing professional social networking supports if Microsoft were to pre-install LinkedIn on Windows PCs and combine the LinkedIn user database with that of Microsoft.
Customer Relationship Software services was another area of concern. The European Commission evaluated if Microsoft could shut out competition by bundling Microsoft Customer Relationship Management Software with Sales Intelligence Solutions from LinkedIn, and denying competing Customer Relationship Management solution vendors from access to the full LinkedIn database.
The investigation found out that the LinkedIn Sales Intelligence product is not a must have solution, and that access to the LinkedIn database is not necessary for competing in the Customer Relationship Software services market. Additionally, the European Commission has found that Microsoft is a relatively minor player in the market, with the market dominated by SAP, Oracle, and the clear leader, Salesforce.
The commission has approved the acquisition with a few conditions. The conditions are that Microsoft should not install LinkedIn by default on its operating system, and allow users to uninstall the service if it does choose to bundle it with the OS by default.
Competing professional social network service providers should be allowed to maintain current levels of integration with Microsoft products. The European Commission wants Microsoft to provide access to “Microsoft Graph” to competing Professional Social Networking service providers. Developers can use data available through this gateway to drive user adoption.