In an email sent to customers in the European Union, Microsoft announced that they will no longer charge customers with VAT tax during their purchase of Skype Credits. So, customers can only pay for the amount of credit they require at the point-of-purchase. Previously, the Luxembourg VAT rate of 15% generally applies if you are located in the EU and Skype products are purchased and used within the EU although products purchased in Switzerland attracts a local 8% VAT rate. The changes below are effective from 28 July 2014: Pay As You Go, Skype Credit, and Auto-recharge: For Pay As You Go calls, VAT is charged when you make the call. Call rates will be exactly what you pay for your calls, inclusive of taxes.  This makes it easy for you to clearly see how much your calls made from Skype cost. More information on our PAYG rates can be ...

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European Union court ruled last week that search engines like Google should be able to remove personal links of users on request. Google has already started implementing this Right To Be Forgotten request form last month, and as per Search Engine Land, it has been taking in about 10,000 requests per day. This law applies for Bing too. But, Microsoft Bing team is still working on implementing this process. Here is the statement from Microsoft, We’re currently working on a special process for residents of the European Union to request blocks of specific privacy-related search results on Bing in response to searches on their names.  Given the many questions that have been raised about how the recent ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union should be implemented, developing an appropriate system is taking us some time.  We’ll be providing additional information about making requests soon. Source: Bing ...

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Microsoft released its third quarter (Q3) earnings earlier today for fiscal year 2014 (FY14). This is the first quarter under new CEO Satya Nadella. The earnings report contained a number of interesting pieces of information including the fact that Microsoft has paid its $733 million fine from the European Commission. For some brief background on the issue (via etwashoo): The Commission’s preliminary view was that competition was distorted by Microsoft tying Internet Explorer to Windows. This was because it offered Microsoft an artificial distribution advantage not related to the merits of its product on more than 90 per cent of personal computers. Furthermore, the Commission’s preliminary view was that this tying hindered innovation in the market and created artificial incentives for software developers and content providers to design their products or web sites primarily for Internet Explorer. The approved commitments address these concerns. PC users, by means of the Choice ...

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Microsoft shareholder Kim Barovic has sued Microsoft board in federal court in Seattle on Friday. He accused Microsoft board for mishandling the error in EU antitrust compliance related to Internet Explorer. Even though Microsoft accounted that non-compliance is due to technical error, Kim needs more explanation on this. In March last year, the European Union levied its largest ever antitrust fine against Microsoft for breaking a legally binding commitment made in 2009 to ensure that consumers in Europe had a choice of how they access the internet, rather than defaulting to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Its investigation found that updated software issued between May 2011 and July 2012 meant that 15 million users were not given a choice. It was the first time the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority, handed down a fine to a company for failing to meet its obligations. In her lawsuit, Barovic says she asked ...

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Almost two years ago now Microsoft gained approval from all governments, including the European Union, on its acquisition of Skype.  The European Commission allowed Microsoft to buy Skype without having to make any concessions. Cisco was not happy about this, as they have their own video conferencing solutions, and has been against Microsoft’s purchase from the beginning. Cisco along with Italian fixed-line and Internet telephone provider Messagenet SpA went to the EU’s second highest court, in Lexembourg, to appeal the European Commission’s decision to approve the deal. Cisco earlier argued that Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype created a monopoly and that the EC was wrong to approve the deal without demanding concessions from Microsoft. Today, European Union court rejected Cisco’s claims and upheld their decision to approve Microsoft/Skype deal. “Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype is compatible with the internal market. The merger does not restrict competition either on the consumer video communications market ...

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In a bit of good news for Microsoft, the European Union has approved the Microsoft/Nokia deal without any conditions.  Regulators in the United States, India, Russia, Israel and Turkey have also approved the Nokia deal. 99.7% of Nokia shareholders approved the deal two weeks ago. Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Nokia’s mobile device business by Microsoft The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of most of Nokia Corporation’s devices & services business (the “D&S business”) by Microsoft Corporation. The D&S business mainly produces and sells smartphones and feature phones. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns, in particular because there are only modest overlaps between the parties’ activities and the links between Microsoft’s mobile operating systems, mobile applications and enterprise mail server software with Nokia’s smart mobile devices are unlikely to lead to competitors being shut out from the ...

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