The European Commission is set to green-light Microsoft’s $26 billion bid for LinkedIn by Tuesday, clearing the way for the software-maker’s largest ever deal to close, according to people close to the case.
The regulator has secured promises to ensure the combination of Microsoft’s market leading operating systems and office software with the world’s biggest professional social network does not shut out smaller rivals to LinkedIn, like Xing or Viadeo.
The takeover, announced in June, is designed to bolster Microsoft’s position in online services and social media. It will also give it access to data that, according to Salesforce, will give it an almighty advantage in the market for customer relationship management software.
But Microsoft’s concessions have focused on the market for professional social networks. The software titan told EU merger regulators in mid-November it would not require equipment-makers to pre-install a LinkedIn app or tile in Windows, nor block them from installing other networks. Any pre-installed LinkedIn app could be easily deleted by a consumer, the company promised.
Microsoft has also said it would not block rival networks from integrating into its Outlook email software, referring to a function that would allow Outlook users to pull up the profiles of their correspondents.
The software titan had disputed the idea that there was a specific market for professional social networks, saying LinkedIn competed directly with social network giant Facebook.
The deadline for EU regulators to take a decision is December 6.
Microsoft and the Commission declined to comment.