Cisco Receives EC Approval for Tandberg Acquisition

Cisco Systems Inc. said that the European Commission (EC) has approved its acquisition of Tandberg, a process that required the networking giant to guarantee enhanced interoperability between its video conferencing equipment and competing products to win the nod.

The acquisition all but ensures Cisco the top spot in the heated up video conferencing market.

Cisco's winning the EC's regulatory approval for the deal centered around interoperability and open standards, specifically for its TelePresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP).

To gain approval, Cisco agreed to relinquish to an independent industry organization ownership both of TIP and the library of open source software used by developers. The vendor also must provide the industry body with all other rights necessary to implement TIP, including authorizing it to license those rights, free of royalty, to any interested third party.

Cisco also agreed to provide information about TIP implementation and allow the industry organization to evolve TIP with the input of other players.

The regulatory approval included a requirement that Cisco appoint an independent observer, under the EC's consent, to see to it that the vendor follow through on its commitments.Once the monitor is appointed and approved, a 14-day window to close the transaction will begin.

Cisco said that it has received word from the U.S. Department of Justice that it will not challenge the acquisition based on the vendor's performance statements to the EC.

"We appreciate the thorough and efficient manner in which the Justice Department and the European Commission conducted their review of this transaction, and we are grateful for the leadership and close cooperation between the agencies throughout this process," said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, Cisco Emerging Technologies Business Group.

"Cisco has always strongly believed that industry expansion and growth is best fostered through open standards and interoperability, and our commitments to the Commission formalize our approach in this area."

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