Chinese regulators have Microsoft in their sights yet again. This time, authorities are investigating Microsoft for possible antitrust violations. Yesterday, Microsoft offices throughout China were raided. Information about the raid was slim until today.
So, what’s the problem? China’s anti-monopoly agency opened a case against Microsoft back in June over complains that Microsoft violated anti-trust law by not publishing all documentation related to its Windows operating system and Office software.
According to the agency, an initial examination didn’t resolve the issue, hence the formal investigation including raids.
What’s at stake for Microsoft? It’s hard to tell. The tech giant doesn’t release China revenues so it’s not clear how much they could be affected by such an investigation. Investors don’t seem too concerned by the investigation as shares trade slightly higher in the first hour of trading.
It’s hard to see how Microsoft has a monopoly with Windows. The Chinese government has banned Windows 8 from its computers. Plus, Microsoft estimates that 90% of Chinese PCs are running pirated copies of Windows software.
Foreign tech companies have been under the microscope in China. Relations between China and the U.S. have soured since the Edward Snowden leaks. Because of this, China is putting pressure on companies based out of the U.S.
This isn’t Microsoft’s first foray into antitrust investigations. Still, we’ll see what Microsoft ends up doing if China tries to strong-arm them. China went after Google a few years ago and Google packed up and left the country.