Microsoft Nokia Takeover Is Granted Chinese Regulatory Approval

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Chinese Ministry of Commerce appears to be satisfied Microsoft won’t abuse Nokia patent portfolio

Microsoft’s £4.6 billion takeover of Nokia’s handset business has received regulatory approval from China, paving the way for the deal to be completed by the end of the month.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce is the latest authority to grant its blessing to the takeover, which has already been given the go-ahead by the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission, and it is believed that there are only a few more countries are required to give their approval before the transaction can be completed.

However Chinese approval has been arguably the most complicated, with a number of rival smartphone manufacturers voicing concerns that the takeover would lead to higher patent licensing fees for wireless technologies.

Microsoft Nokia takeover

Nokia Lumia 930 MainCurrently, Nokia charges a small number of Chinese phone manufacturers around two percent on the value of a device, adhering to a loose system for patent protection in the country, but Microsoft’s aggressive pursuit of Android smartphone manufacturers over patent agreements has apparently caused Google, Samsung, Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and others to contact Chinese authorities.

The Ministry of Commerce’s approval of Microsoft’s takeover was never believed to be in doubt, but it wasn’t clear whether the ministry would demand assurances that the completion of the deal won’t result in higher patent fees.

Nokia has implied that the Ministry made no such requests.

“The regulatory approval process has involved a thorough review of Nokia’s patent licensing practices by several competition authorities around the world,” says the Finnish manufacturer. “During that process, no authority has challenged Nokia’s compliance with its FRAND undertakings related to standard-essential patents (licensing on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms) or requested that Nokia make changes to its licensing program or royalty terms.”

The European Union has said it will monitor Nokia’s behaviour after the deal is completed.

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