Microsoft bags crucial green light for Nokia deal

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has approved Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s Devices and Services business subject to certain conditions.

In what is seen as a crucial green light for Redmond, the tech giant says MOFCOM’s decision effectively adopts the company’s current patent licensing practices.

In reaching its decision, MOFCOM concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone.

“MOFCOM’s approval is based on a set of commitments which we’ve discussed with MOFCOM during the past few months (the English version of the commitments is here),” wrote David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Antitrust, Microsoft, on the company’s official blog.

“There was an important principle with which MOFCOM approached these discussions from the beginning: any commitments should be focused on how our future conduct might change after we own the Nokia Devices and Services business, and should not impact our licenses signed in the past or historical practices.

“It has never been our intent to change our practices after we acquire the Nokia business, so while we disagreed with the premise that our incentives might change in the future, we were happy to discuss commitments on this basis.”

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business has been cleared to close in 16 markets and according to Howard, none of them has taken a different view, with the vast majority clearing the deal without any conditions.

“We are very pleased with this important decision, a critical step forward in allowing us to close the transaction with Nokia, and we appreciate the professionalism shown by MOFCOM during this process,” Howard added.

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