Microsoft's $8.5bn acquisition of Skype is expected to gain approval from the EU.

The acquisition, which was first announced in May last year, is likely to be approved by EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia without the need for an in-depth investigation, according to the Financial Times.

To the approval looks set to go ahead despite complaints from rival software firms claiming the tech giant is looking to 'bundle' the software with its Window operating system.

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Microsoft was previously accused of 'bundling its Internet Explorer web browser with the operating system, which resulted in an EU antitrust investigation into the tech giant. In a bid to settle the dispute, Microsoft offered to a 'browser ballot' to any Windows PCs that used Internet Explorer as the default browser. Web users were presented with a browser choice screen that allowed them to pick from 12 different browsers. Italian firm Messagenet is among the rival Voice over IP (VoIP)software manufacturers that has voiced concerns over the deal.

However, at the time of the deal, Microsoft said it will always support the VoIP service on rival platforms including Google Android and devices running iOS, a fact which the tech giant has since stressed to the commission.

Rivals have also raised concerns over whether they would be able to connect their customers those using Skype.

In June, the Federal Trades Commission (FTC) in the US, approved the acquisition, but there are still on going investigations in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Taiwan.