Business / Technology

China makes new inquiries into Microsoft amid antitrust probe

( Updated: 2016-01-05 16:31
China makes new inquiries into Microsoft amid antitrust probe

An electronic Microsoft logo is seen at the Microsoft store in New York, July 28, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Microsoft Corp is under an antitrust investigation in China, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) announced Tuesday afternoon on its website.

Regional executives related to the matter have been asked to respond to inquiries from and data acquired by the watchdog, said the announcement.

The US software giant said in response that it is serious about complying with China's laws and committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns.

"Asking questions is at least giving Microsoft a chance to explain all the details and the company has set up the partnership with CSC which is to show that they are willing to follow the government policy," said Kitty Fok, director of research firm IDC China.

Microsoft has been teaming up with the giant systems integrator CSC to tap China's government procurement market selling its Windows 10 operating system.

"I think like Qualcomm, it is still better to be fined than wait without answer. The same thing applies to Microsoft," said Fok. "You'd rather get the result and then you can move on."

The US chip maker Qualcomm has been fined 6.088 billion yuan ($975 million) by the Chinese regulator NDRC after finding the company had violated anti-monopoly laws.

Last August, the SAIC questioned Microsoft's lawyer, Deputy General Counsel Mary Snapp, after formally investigating the software giant and raiding four of its offices in China, reported Reuters.

Microsoft was suspected of violating China's anti-monopoly law since June 2014 in relation to problems with compatibility, bundling and document authentication.

The company had promised to respect Chinese law and fully cooperate with the SAIC's investigation work, adding that its business practices are "designed to be compliant with Chinese law", according to the news agency.

Regulators levied a fine of about 350 million yuan ($54.8 million) on Daimler's Mercedes-Benz in April last year. In September, authorities fined FAWVolkswagen's luxury brand Audi almost 250 million yuan, Dongfeng Nissan nearly 123 million yuan and Chrysler almost 31.6 million yuan.

Gao Yuan contributed to this story.

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