Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia has finally been approved after almost two years of review. Josh Miller/CNET
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia after nearly two years of review by the country’s authorities.
The FTC ruled in favour of the acquisition on Monday under conditions that will “block the possibility of Microsoft abusing its patents.” In an initial review, the commission voiced concerns that Microsoft would have used Nokia to form an overly “competitive relationship” with local smartphone makers Samsung and LG, and as a result may “abuse” its patents against the two South Korean electronics companies.
The US-based software giant, which announced its global acquisition of Nokia in December 2013, turned in solutions to mitigate the FTC’s worries over “anticompetitive” behaviour last year, leading to the watchdog’s eventual approval. According to the FTC, a red flag was raised as Microsoft was already in a “business collaboration agreement” with local manufacturers that could serve as an excuse to “share trade secrets.”
The FTC, which said it listened to opinions of interested parties as well as experts during review, got an agreement from Microsoft to not file sales bans to Korean companies locally or abroad.
Review by other government agencies, including South Korea’s Prosecution Service (similar to a US district attorney), was completed without opposition during May and June.
The FTC denied accusations of “protectionism” by defending the interest of local firms and for its strict regulations against foreign companies, saying different countries have different laws.
An FTC spokesman declined to provide additional comment on the announcement.