Microsoft faces anti-monopoly probe in China over Windows, Office

Chinese conducted surprise raids on Microsoft offices in the country on Monday

Microsoft Research Offices in Beijing.

Microsoft Research Offices in Beijing.

China has opened an anti-monopoly probe into Microsoft over problems arising from its Windows and Office software, a government regulator said on Tuesday, a day after it conducted surprise raids of the company's offices in the country.

China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has been investigating Microsoft following an industry complaint in June 2013 alleging that Windows and Office are not fully open, resulting in compatibility, bundling and document verification issues.

SAIC did not elaborate any further in its online posting. But on Monday, the regulator sent hundreds of staff to raid four Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

"Following the earlier stages of the investigation, we cannot dismiss suspicion of Microsoft's anti-competitiveness," SAIC added.

Microsoft employees investigated have included a company vice president, top managers, and marketing and finance related staff. Copies were taken of Microsoft contracts and financial statements, along with PC and server storage containing internal emails.

But many of the Microsoft employees SAIC wants to investigate are out of the country, meaning that the probe is not completed, the regulator said.

Microsoft declined to comment on Tuesday. The day before, the company said it was happy to answer the government's questions.

China has been a major market for the U.S. company, where its Windows OS remains the top PC operating system. In May, however, a Chinese government procurement agency began banning purchases of Windows 8 systems, taking Microsoft off guard.

The government agency has yet to explain why the ban was made. But Microsoft ending official support for Windows XP, exposing the operating system to security risks, has been cited as one reason, according to China's state-controlled press.

SAIC's investigation comes months after Chinese regulators opened an anti-monopoly probe into U.S. chip vendor Qualcomm, following complaints that the company had been overcharging clients. The investigation is still ongoing, and Qualcomm could face a major fine if found guilty.

All of this is happening as China has expressed concern about the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs being built into U.S. technology products. In May, China threatened to block companies from selling IT systems in the country if they failed to pass a new "cybersecurity vetting system" the government was working to establish.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftregulationlegalantitrustChina's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC)

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?