Microsoft's relationship with China has been slightly tense in recent months, particularly after the country's government banned Windows 8 from official use, alleging that the company's relationship with the US government was a bit too close for comfort. That prompted Microsoft to respond with explicit and unambiguous denials and clarifications about its relationship with American security agencies.
But even as Microsoft prepares to launch its Xbox One console in China, things appear to have taken a turn for the worse. Microsoft has confirmed that four of its offices across China - in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu - have been raided today as part of an official government investigation by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
As the South China Morning Post reports, Microsoft China spokesperson Joan Li has said that the company will "actively cooperate" with the authorities, but the exact nature of the investigation remains unclear. In a statement to NDTV, she said:
We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we're happy to answer the government's questions.
It is also unclear whether the investigation will impact on Microsoft's operations in the country, including its planned Xbox One launch. So far, Chinese authorities have not publicly clarified the purpose of their impromptu 'inspections', or the reasons behind their investigation of the company.