China gives Microsoft 20 days to provide explanation in anti-trust probe

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BEIJING: A Chinese antitrust regulator said on Sept 01 (Monday) that it had given Microsoft Corp 20 days to reply to queries on the compatibility of its Windows operating system and Office software suite, amid a probe into the world’s largest software company.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) questioned Microsoft vice-president David Chen and gave the company a deadline to make an explanation, the agency said in a short statement on its website.

SAIC also repeated that it suspected the company had not fully disclosed issues relating to the compatibility of the software and the operating system.

“A special investigation team conducted an anti-monopoly investigation inquiry with Microsoft vice-president Chen Shi (David Chen), and required that Microsoft make a written explanation within 20 days,” the SAIC said in a statement on its website.

In a statement, Microsoft said it was “serious about complying with China’s laws, and committed to addressing SAIC’s questions and concerns”.

Microsoft is one of at least 30 foreign companies that have come under scrutiny by China’s anti-monopoly regulators, as the government seeks to enforce its six-year-old antitrust law. Critics say that the law is being used to unfairly target overseas businesses — a charge the regulators deny.

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is expected to make his first visit to China as chief executive, later in September.

In August, a delegation from chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, led by company president Derek Aberle, met officials at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), as part of that regulator’s investigation of the San Diego-based firm.

NDRC said earlier this year, that the US chipmaker is suspected of overcharging and abusing its market position in wireless communication standards. — Reuters

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Sept 02, 2014.