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European Commission OKs Microsoft's Skype buy

With international and domestic approval out of the way, Microsoft can finally start making plans to wrap Skype services into its desktop and mobile devices.

Today the European Commission green-lighted Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, a pioneer in personal VoIP communications.

Although Microsoft announced its intentions to buy Skype in May, the software giant had to clear international hurdles before it could complete its acquisition of Skype, which is based in Luxembourg.

"This is an important milestone, as we've now received clearance from both the United States and the European Union," Microsoft's Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, said in a statement. "We look forward to completing soon the final steps needed to close the acquisition."

While the European Commission's approval is an important step in the process, it isn't the only checkpoint Microsoft needs to cross. Competition reviews are still ongoing in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Taiwan, according to the Financial Times.

Analysts and consumers both have been waiting for Microsoft to announce Skype products baked into its desktop computers and Windows phones, where they're a natural fit and could give Microsoft another much-needed point of differentiation, especially in the crowded and competitive mobile phone space.

Skype had more than 170 million average monthly connected users from April to June 2011. Skype was founded in 2003.

Updated at 1:07 p.m. PT with more details.