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European Commission clears Microsoft LinkedIn deal

Microsoft's efforts to reassure users it would not favour LinkedIn over other networks seems to have paid off

LinkedIn on a mobile device

The European Commission will allow Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn to go ahead, according to the tech giant, although it hasn't yet been confirmed by the Commission itself.

Microsoft released a statement explaining that it has now received "all of the regulatory approvals needed to complete the acquisition."

For Microsoft to get the go-ahead to complete its acquisition of LinkedIn, the deal needed to pass through regulatory bodies in the United States, Canada, Brazil and South Africa to ensure it wasn't unfair on rival companies.

"As part of our discussions with the European Commission, we formalized several commitments regarding Microsoft's support for third-party professional social networking services," Microsoft's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said.

Last week, Microsoft revealed it would let other companies inject information into emails using Outlook, alongside other Microsoft-developed programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel via its Office Add-in programme, rather than just limiting it to LinkedIn data.

Other steps it'll take to ensure the purchase doesn't step on anyone's toes includes allowing other companies to promote their applications in the Office Store, ensuring IT administrators can customise their Office implementation by choosing whether to display selected LinkedIn details in the Office UI and if the company decides to build a LinkedIn tile for Windows-based computers, manufacturers of Windows PCs can opt out of including it in the default set-up.

"We also won't use Windows itself to prompt users to install a LinkedIn application, although it can remain available in the Windows Store and be promoted in other ways," Smith said.

Microsoft promised the deal would close by the end of the year when it announced its intentions to buy the business social network six months ago. However, it came across a number of hurdles thrown at it from the European Commission, including that it would not allow other companies to be competitive.

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