Despite the fact that Microsoft has already announced its intention to acquire Nokia’s phone business, Redmond will have to jump through a number of regulatory hurdles before it can become a full-fledged cell phone maker. One such hurdle is getting the European Union to approve the acquisition, this is required because Nokia is based in Europe, which means that the 28 member state bloc’s antitrust regulators will decide if this deal breaches its competition rules.
Microsoft announced the deal last month, which will see the transfer of Nokia’s phone business and thousands of employees to the software giant. The deal also includes a 10 year licensing agreement of the Finnish manufacturer’s patent portfolio. The EU has the necessary powers to block this deal if it wants, particularly if it feels that competition will be at a disadvantage as a result of this deal. It also has the power to fine both companies. The European Commission has said that it will give its ruling by December 4th, though the final date can be extended by 10 days if Microsoft decides to offer concessions to downplay any potential competition concerns that the Commission might have. There’s another hurdle prior to December 4th, its Nokia’s extraordinary shareholders meeting on November 19th, where shareholders will vote to either approve or reject the deal. Microsoft expects to close the acquisition of Nokia’s phone business, valued at $7.17 billion, by the first quarter of 2014.