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China begins Microsoft Internet Explorer and Media Player antitrust investigation

Browser bundling back to bite Redmond
Tue Aug 26 2014, 13:28
China has officially started an investigation into Microsoft

THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT is investigating Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Media Player for antitrust reasons, and says the Redmond firm is cooperating.

We have asked Microsoft to respond to the news, but so far it has not. According to a report at Reuters, a Chinese press conference has confirmed the investigation and the target's compliant response.

Zhang Mao, the head of the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) gave the presentation, and said that historically Microsoft has not been open about its business and motives.

"Information relating to Microsoft's suspected Windows and [Microsoft] Office software has not been fully open," he said.

In July Chinese authorities raided Microsoft's China offices, and we reported that financial statements and emails were taken and that high level staffers had been questioned. It later transpired that the Chinese effort related to an anti-monopoly investigation, which brings us back to where we are now, as have been before.

Microsoft's bundling of its web browser and, to a lesser extent, its media player, has been the cause of some anti-competitive investigations in Europe and the US already. Europe saw the rollout of the web browser choice webpage at the insistance of the EU.

The issue was not solved overnight, however, and apparently still nips at Microsoft. In July the firm said that it strives to build products that please everyone, in response to the China raid.

"We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we're happy to answer the government's questions," a Microsoft spokeswoman said last month.

Zhang Mao told reporters that the investigation is rolling forward. "The investigation is presently ongoing, and we will disclose the results to the public in a timely fashion," he said. µ

 

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