Last week, authorities raided four Microsoft offices across China, as it emerged that the government there had placed the company under an official investigation. It was later revealed that the government probe centers around Microsoft's alleged violation of Chinese 'unfair trade' laws.
Today, as Reuters reports, China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) said that Microsoft 'should not obstruct' their ongoing investigation. The SAIC added that it had questioned Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Mary Snapp today in China.
The industry regulator also acknowledged that "Microsoft promised to respect Chinese law and fully cooperate with the SAIC's investigation work." This statement may lead some to wonder why the SAIC has felt it necessary to demand Microsoft's cooperation.
You Yunting, senior partner at Shanghai DeBund Law Offices, said that he doesn't believe that the SAIC's statement necessarily implies that Microsoft has "done anything to obstruct the investigation; otherwise, they would have publicized it." Rather, he explained, "the government is saying 'we might be more lenient if you don't resist; otherwise, we'll be tough.'"
China banned Microsoft's Windows 8 from official government use in May, although it appears that this is symptomatic of a growing distrust of foreign software at the highest levels. Today, Symantec and Kaspersky were banned from a list of approved vendors that can provide antivirus software to the Chinese government.