Missing interconnectivity of VoIP services: Cisco appeal against Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype

Cisco, together with the Italian VoIP provider Messagenet, presented legal objections against the take-over of Skype by Microsoft in 2011.

While it did not oppose the merger, Cisco asked European Regulators to impose rules about “standards-based interoperability” on the new entity. Cisco argued that video-to-video calls need to be “as easy and seamless as e-mail is today”. Without interoperability rules being forced on Microsoft it feared that the future of video communications would be in danger.

According to Microsoft, one third of the world’s voice calls are running over Skype’s platform, with around 300 million users using the service for more than 100 minutes every month.

Even if on last December the European courts decided that Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype is compatible with the EU internal market, yet users of Skype are unable to call other VoIP services (e.g. Viber) due to a lack of interoperability. This contrasts completely with the established universal connectivity model of communications, based on global numbering and interoperability and is likely to endanger competition and consumer experience in the future.