The Chinese MOFCOM conditionally clears a merger in the smartphone market (Microsoft / Nokia)

On April 8, MOFCOM approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile handset business. MOFCOM’s review focused on three product markets: smartphones, mobile operating systems, and the licensing of standard-essential and non-essential patents for smartphones. Geographically, MOFCOM focused on potential impact on the China market. MOFCOM found that the Microsoft mobile operating system and the Nokia smartphone business had minor market positions and were unlikely to impact competition post-closing. However, MOFCOM concluded that, post-acquisition, Microsoft would have the capability to restrict competition in the upstream patent license market for smartphones, particularly with respect to Microsoft’s package license for Android phones, known as the Android program license. MOFCOM stated

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Peter J. Wang, Sébastien J. Evrard, Yizhe Zhang, The Chinese MOFCOM conditionally clears a merger in the smartphone market (Microsoft / Nokia), 8 avril 2014, e-Competitions April 2014, Art. N° 67170

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