Originally published: April 5, 2010
Last updated: April 5, 2010 - 2:43pm
The Department of Justice announced March 29 that it will not challenge Cisco Systems Inc.'s acquisition of Tandberg ASA. The department has concluded that the proposed deal is not likely to be anticompetitive due to the evolving nature of the videoconferencing market and the commitments that Cisco has made to the European Commission (EC) to facilitate interoperability.
During the course of its investigation the Department of Justice cooperated closely with the EC in its parallel review of the transaction, aided by waivers from the parties and industry participants. This permitted the agencies to share information and assessments of likely competitive effects and potential remedies. The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division analyzed the effect of combining the videoconferencing businesses of Cisco and Tandberg, focusing on a type of videoconferencing known as "telepresence," in which Cisco and Tandberg are competitors. Telepresence is a form of high-definition videoconferencing that provides an immersive experience to users, simulating face-to-face meetings. The department conducted an extensive investigation of this dynamic marketplace, including numerous interviews of industry participants and customers, and review of documents provided by the parties and other firms in the videoconferencing business. The EC also announced that it has cleared the transaction. Cisco has made commitments to facilitate interoperability between its telepresence products and those of other companies as part of the EC's merger clearance process. The commitments are designed to foster the development of open operating standards. The department views those commitments as a positive development that likely will enhance competition among producers of telepresence systems. Open standards lower barriers to entry, and can be especially procompetitive in rapidly evolving high technology markets. The department has taken the commitments into account, along with various market factors, such as the evolving nature of the telepresence business, in reaching its decision to close its investigation.
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