China gives Microsoft twenty days to respond to antitrust inquiry

In the last few weeks, Chinese authorities have conducted two raids on Microsoft offices and facilities across the country, as part of an investigation into alleged antitrust violations by the company. The exact nature of the probe remains somewhat ambiguous, although a recent report indicated that it concerned Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player with its Windows operating systems. 

Today, China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) indicated that the investigation was even wider in its scope, encompassing not just Windows, but also Microsoft's Office suite. 

The SAIC said in a statement that a "special investigation team conducted an anti-monopoly investigation inquiry with Microsoft Vice President Chen Shi (David Chen), and required that Microsoft make a written explanation within 20 days." 

Authorities have accused Microsoft of not being 'fully transparent' over the disclosure of its sales data in China. Microsoft said today in a statement, published by Reuters, that it was "serious about complying with China's laws and committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns".

Last week, the Chinese government stated that it plans to launch its own desktop OS next month, as part of a wider effort to reduce its dependency on Windows and other foreign software.

Source: SAIC via Reuters

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19 Comments

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To be honest I find this a bit silly. Yes Microsoft may have once been a major monopoly but now it's edging towards Google and Apple.

The thing is, I don't see the problem. You can install a different browser? So what's the big problem. In Windows - when you set Chrome as your default - you need never see IE again.

Do we complain that Safari opens every time we click a link in Mail? In Mac OS, when you change your default browser a lot of still still sends us back to Safari.

So are they going to go after Apple now? Probably not.

Microsoft should act carefully not to be 'giving' money to what I would call a very questionable government. It's not that I dislike Chinese people, but I dislike the way their country is heading.


It is also true that most of Windows/Office software is also not legitimate, so Microsoft isn't losing out here.

The best case would be for Microsoft to ack the problem the Chineese govt have come up with and ship a country specific version of Windows without Media Player and Browser Choice.

May I also say that Browser Choice - I always unpick it from Windows Update list on first install. However, during setting up my Surface Pro 3 I let the damn update through.

I detest an application installed on my Computer that basically tells me about other browsers, as far as I'm concerned it's as good as junkware. Can I sue the EU for forcing it on me? :-) hmmm, Just as crazy as China going for Microsoft

Well said, and agreed on all points. Would this even be an issue today if Microsoft extended Windows XP for China? Seems like petty retaliation for not meeting their demands. It's hypocritical and flat out laughable.

Raa said,
Ooooooh.

Or what? :p

That was precisely the first thought that popped into my head as well. Worse case scenario, Microsoft leaves China, and the Chinese can continue to use outdated pirated software from pre-2000.

I honestly don't see the fault in Microsoft bundling ITS OWN SOFTWARE into their own operating system. If you want more options, build more operating systems. Make Linux or Mac more gaming friendly, and you'd see a flock of new people moving from Windows to either of those.

Funny that you mention nuclear arsenal, watch last week tonight with Jon Oliver about the US nuclear arsenal yesterday. And using a bad/faulty OS wouldn't mess much up there as everything already was a mess.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y1ya-yF35g

Enron said,
China is full of pirates and IP thieves. Not worth the effort to stay there.

MS is not the first time that is accused from the same. And in several cases, it was considered guilty. So, is China a country filled with pirates?, yes but it is a strawman argument.

Agreed. Better off out. Why fight to stay in a country that's famous for ripping off other people goods, services and ideas? The Chinese government is quick to ignore those issues but then quick to jump on MS.

sverti said,
and what about all the other programs that depends of MS Windows?

What about them? It's not Microsoft's problem if the Chinese government want to make up frivolous lawsuits.

Enron said,
China is full of pirates and IP thieves. Not worth the effort to stay there.

Microsoft is desperate to give away lots of low-end Windows Phone devices in China that it might boost its worldwide marketshare. A fool's errand if you ask me.

simplezz said,

Microsoft is desperate to give away lots of low-end Windows Phone devices in China that it might boost its worldwide marketshare. A fool's errand if you ask me.

Definitely a fool's errand. They should abandon China and let them go with their own solution. There is no profit margin in China.

As a developer, I wouldn't care about "worldwide" market share that takes into account markets like China where people don't actually purchase software. I'd be looking at Western markets. That's not to say Windows Phone isn't also struggling in the West, but I just think China is a wasted effort.

Enron said,
Considered guilty, by those with an agenda.

A lot of things are up for debate, but the question of whether Microsoft is an abusive monopolist isn't one of them. It's been found guilty of that crime on two continents already. Third one's a charm I guess ;)

Edited by simplezz, Sep 1 2014, 3:50pm :

Doncha just love it when trolls fall into elephant traps?

First, Microsoft WON their antitrust suit with the USA and second they SETTLED their antitrust suit with the EU. How this translates to "been found guilty of that crime on two continents already" is beyond logic.

As the guy said, "Considered guilty, by those with an agenda." Beyond implicit hatred of Microsoft, what's your agenda?