Microsoft given 20 day deadline in China probe

September 2, 2014 // 11:03 a.m.

Tags: #antitrust #anti-trust #china #david-chen #microsoft #monopoly #piracy #saic #windows #windows-81

Microsoft has been given twenty days to respond to concerns from a Chinese regulator that its actions in the nation have amounted to anticompetitive behaviour and that the company is acting as a de facto monopoly.

Microsoft has been suffering from a one-step-forward two-steps-back dance in China of late. News that it would become the first console maker in 14 years to sell a games machine in the country was a positive, but came on the heels of a report that the Chinese government was refusing to accept tenders to install Windows 8.1 as part of its upgrade cycle. More seriously, in July Microsoft was accused of running an illegal monopoly in the country, with the nation's regulators raiding Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Ghuangzhou and Chengdu to gather evidence as part of a probe into its activities.

Now, Microsoft's David Chen has been given a series of questions by the regulator along with a deadline for when a response must be given. '[The] SAIC task force on Mr. Chen Shi [David Chen], vice president of Microsoft, in its anti-monopoly investigation and inquiry, require Microsoft to [...] make a written explanation within 20 days.' a spokesperson for China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC,) the regulator overseeing the investigation, explained in a website posting on the matter.

The exact nature of SAIC's complaint remains unclear, but newswire agency Reuters has claimed a large portion stems from Microsoft's use of licence codes that tie the Windows operating system to each PC, along with concerns about the compatibility of its latest software - including Windows 8.1, itself something China has indicated it will not be adopting for governmental systems. Reuters has also indicated that there is concern that the anti-trust law is being used to cripple foreign companies in an attempt to give an advantage to local enterprise, although this is as yet unproven.

Microsoft has stated that it is 'committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns.'

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