Chinese authorities have been investigating Microsoft over alleged antitrust violations for several weeks now, since carrying out a raid on the company’s offices in four cities across the country last month. A second raid, which targeted more of Microsoft’s facilities in China, followed a few weeks later.
China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has previously stated that it has been investigating the company under domestic anti-monopoly laws. The SAIC briefed media in Beijing today, as Reuters reports, claiming that Microsoft has not been ‘fully transparent’ regarding the disclosure of data on its sales in China.
The focus of the investigation is on Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player as part of the Windows OS. If this sounds familiar, it should - Microsoft has been through this before with antitrust regulators in the United States and the European Union. Suffice it to say China is somewhat late to this particular party.
The head of the SAIC, Zhang Mao described the investigation as “presently ongoing”, adding that the regulator “will disclose the results to the public in a timely fashion.” Zhang also remarked that the probe into Microsoft was one of nine active investigations across multiple industries – including technology, tobacco, insurance, tourism and utilities; and involving companies of various backgrounds – foreign, domestic, state-owned companies and trade associations.
He acknowledged that Microsoft is cooperating with the SAIC’s investigation: “After multiple meetings, including at high levels,” Zhang said, “they’ve expressed a willingness to respect Chinese law and collaborate with investigating officials.”
Microsoft has said that it is "committed" to working with the SAIC, and addressing their concerns, since the first raids last month.
This article was updated after publishing to add further information regarding the nature of the SAIC investigation.