Chinese antitrust agency probes Microsoft

Updated: 2014-07-30 11:27

By Gao Yuan in Beijing and Jack Freifelder in New York (China Daily USA)

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An anti-monopoly investigation of Microsoft Corp in the Chinese market is underway, but an analyst with a New York-based research and investment firm said the probe is not likely to "move the needle on [Microsoft's] business outlook" in China.

Daniel Ives, managing director and senior analyst for FBR Capital Markets, said the current inquiry is just "the latest issue that Microsoft faces in China".

"China is continuing to have a more contentious relationship with United States tech companies," Ives said Tuesday in an interview with China Daily.

"If you talk about it from a government perspective, a lot of these US tech companies, Microsoft included, are getting caught up in the mix."

"Microsoft is almost its own separate issue too as there have been a lot of longstanding issues with China: piracy, Windows 8, etc," he said.

"But I think there is a broader US tech issue in China too."

A Chinese antitrust regulator said on Tuesday it is investigating whether Microsoft's business in China constitutes a monopoly, citing a specific focus on Microsoft's Windows operating system (OS) and its Microsoft Office software suite.

Chinese antitrust agency probes Microsoft

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) said in a statement that it received reports of compatibility and file verification failures related to two of Microsoft's flagship products.

The complaints stem from the fact that Microsoft did not disclose enough product information for those two items.

Microsoft is also facing tied-in sale investigations, the SAIC said, but Microsoft has not yet been accused outright of any wrongdoing.

The government also is investigating Microsoft executives in China, including a vice-president, according to the SAIC statement.

Nearly 100 SAIC inspectors visited Microsoft's offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu on Monday, taking internal documents and two computers.

On Tuesday, in an email to China Daily, a Microsoft representative wrote: "We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect, and we will address any concerns the government may have."

Microsoft does not disclose financial information about its business in China, but the company's CFO