Microsoft probe nothing more than routine

Updated: 2014-07-31 14:09


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BEIJING - Chinese regulator's anti-monopoly probe of Microsoft is a routine investigation in accordance with the law. Overinterpretation and overreaction is unfounded and unnecessary.

Other anti-trust cases involving big foreign names, such as carmaker Jaguar Land Rover and chipmaker Qualcomm, have led to questions as to whether China is taking on Western companies. There has even been talk of "a changing climate" in the world's second largest economy.

Microsoft probe nothing more than routine

Chinese antitrust agency looking into Microsoft 

Microsoft probe nothing more than routine

Microsoft likely targeted in Chinese antitrust probe 

There is no so-called special zeal against any specific company, or any specific country, let alone foreign firms as a whole.

The Microsoft investigation has nothing to do with where the company comes from, but what it did in the Chinese market.

The probe should not come as a surprise given its history in other countries and regions. It has been embroiled in anti-trust probes in the United States, the European Union (EU), Japan and the Republic of Korea in the past decade. The EU fined it 561 million euros last year.

In China, Microsoft is suspected of not fully disclosing information of its Windows operating system and Microsoft Office application, causing incompatibility problems. According to Chinese law, incompatibility without advance warning to customers could be regarded anti-competitive.

Overcharging by foreign companies is common in China. Take the auto sector as an example. Buyers of foreign brands have to pay a much higher price in the country. Even prices for repairs are super high.

No company is allowed to break laws with impunity in China, be it Chinese or foreign, state-owned or private.

Business giants China Telecom and China Unicom have also been subjects of anti-trust probes. Premium "baijiu" alcohol makers Kweichow Moutai and Wuliangye were each fined more than 200 million yuan last year for monopolistic practices. Five Chinese jewelry makers were fined more than 10 million yuan.

These probes involving big Chinese names didn't raise eyebrows within the foreign media.

The Microsoft probe is just another sign that China is more forcefully enforcing its six-year old Anti-Monopoly Law.

Some say China is increasingly using the law, part of efforts to make companies comply with regulations and build a more fair and equal market. This is something all firms, including Microsoft, will benefit from in the long run.

Without any doubt, the anti-monopoly law should be applied in a strict and forceful manner, so the market is more law-based and pro-competition.

Therefore, fears that China, once the hottest growth market for Western firms, is turning chillier are totally misplaced.