Microsoft Said to Use German Site to Appease EU Over LinkedIn

  • Microsoft and German social network agreed commercial deal
  • EU said to encourage Xing accord as it approved LinkedIn bid

Microsoft Corp. agreed to add Xing AG, Germany’s biggest professional-networking site, to its Windows software to eliminate opposition in the European Union antitrust review of its $26.2 billion bid to buy LinkedIn Corp, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Xing’s app will appear on the Windows 10 start menu and add-ins for e-mail software Outlook in German-language versions of Microsoft software sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for the next five years, according to one of the people who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The European Commission was aware of the deal and encouraged it, the person said. Xing had no more concerns about the Microsoft takeover after the commercial agreement was struck, the person said.

Microsoft won EU approval Tuesday to buy LinkedIn after it promised regulators it wouldn’t push the social network on to computer manufacturers or users of its office software or shut out other social network rivals from Microsoft services. The concessions allowed the EU to clear the deal at an early stage, avoiding a lengthy investigation of at least four months that would have delayed Microsoft’s plans to close the deal this year.

Microsoft and Xing representatives both confirmed Wednesday that they’d made a commercial agreement and said they couldn’t discuss the details. The commission declined to immediately comment.

Xing, which is about 50 percent owned by Germany’s Hubert Burda Media, is planning to increase users to about 16 million by 2020, its chief financial officer said last month. It currently has 11 million members.

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