Microsoft offices in China probed for antimonopoly practices

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Four Microsoft offices in the Chinese shores – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, have been subjected to unexpected visits by State Administration for Industry & Commerce authorities for a probe into whether the software giant is engaged in any kind of monopolistic practices.

Microsoft, confirming that it under investigation, said it was “happy to answer the government’s questions.” Joanna Li, a Microsoft’s public relations officer said that the company can’t say anything more other than confirming the visit, “given the sensitivity of the issue.”

Sina.com, citing an unnamed Microsoft employee from China, reported that the Chinese regulator may start a probe into possible monopoly of Microsoft in the China’s operating system market. The Chinese government hasn’t made any official statement about the visits.

The Redmond has been recently having a rocky relationship with the China, with officials banning Windows 8 in government offices, back in May. Following the revelations by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Chinese state media has even named a number of American technology companies including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Apple, that was claimed to become potential “cybersecurity threats.”

However, Microsoft is not the only tech giant, to fall afoul of the Chinese officials, as financial institutions in China were being advised earlier this year to stop using IBM server equipment in the fear of back doors.

Foreign companies including Microsoft have periodically drawn scrutiny from the Chinese regulators as well as state media even earlier. Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, has also faced aggressive probes by the Chinese officials into alleged corruption and accusations of bribing doctors and other hospital staff to use the company’s products.

Despite of the tough time with Chinese officials, Microsoft still intends to have its Xbox One gaming console make its debut in China this September. E-commerce giant JD.com has already began taking pre-orders for the console from Mobile QQ, Weixin users in China.