BRUSSELS — The European Commission approved Friday the proposed $8.5 billion acquisition of the Internet phone and video communication provider Skype by Microsoft Corp., saying the deal would not significantly impede competition in Europe.

The approval appears to be the final step in the technology company’s effort to acquire Skype. The European Commission is the EU’s executive branch.

The merger is an important part of Microsoft’s strategy for the future. The corporation has been scrambling to build a mobile version of Windows that will be more widely embraced in the smartphone market, where it has fallen behind Google’s Android operating system as well as Apple’s iPhone. The acquisition of Skype is a key element of that plan.

Microsoft already has a Skype-like service called Windows Live. But Skype lets users of different kinds of computers and phones chat directly. The deal could enable Microsoft to sell more digital advertising and offer more popular business conferencing tools.

The deal was approved by the U.S. Justice Department in June.