Microsoft has up to 20 days to clarify matters related to its Windows operating system and Office software suite compatibility, a Chinese anti-trust body said on Monday, as the corporation faces an investigation.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) grilled Microsoft Vice President David Chen and gave the world’s largest software firm a deadline to respond, the regulator stated on its website.
Microsoft is among not less than 30 foreign firms that are being probed by China’s anti-monopoly authorities as the government strives to enforce its six-year old antitrust regulations. Critics say authorities are using the law in an unjust manner to target foreign businesses, an accusation regulators have dismissed.
“We strictly adhere to the relevant laws and rules in China and we have been actively cooperating with the SAIC’s investigation,” Microsoft is quoted by the Wall Street Journal as stating.
Chinese regulators have in recent weeks paid Microsoft offices surprise visits to inspect them.
A state media report on Monday suggested that Microsoft’s use of verification codes also triggered complaints from other Chinese firms. Use of the codes may have been against China’s anti-monopoly law, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Usually, verification codes are employed by software firms as way around counterfeits. The codes come with original copies of software and can be supplied by customers who wish to access updates and support from the manufacturer.
Microsoft has for a long time been a victim of piracy for its software products in China.
Duncan Clark of consultancy BDA in Beijing said the issues raised about verification codes possibly contravening anti-monopoly laws were illogical.
“It’s hard to make sense of and hard to see how Microsoft can appease. How does an anti-piracy measure constitute monopolistic behavior if other suppliers can also use the same technique?” Clark is quoted by Reuters as saying.
To contact the reporter of the story: Yashu Gola at firstname.lastname@example.org
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