updated 10:18 am EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Head of China SAIC declares target, investigation expected to expand
Mirroring similar complaints in the EU and United States from a decade ago, the current antitrust investigation in China has been confirmed to be over the bundling of Internet Explorer and Microsoft's Windows operating system. The investigation, and target of China's antitrust State Administration for Industry and Commerce, was confirmed at a press briefing by the head of the agency Zhang Mao earlier today.
"The investigation is presently ongoing, and we will disclose the results to the public in a timely fashion," Zhang said of the progress of the investigation. Analysts expect the scope of the action to expand beyond just Internet Explorer and Windows, with today's announcement buying the government time to dig into seized evidence.
Microsoft issued a brief statement about the July raids days after they happened, saying that it was "happy to answer the government's questions" about business practices. A law firm has been employed by the software giant since the day after the raid. If found guilty, the company may be fined up to 10 percent of its revenue in China.
How much business the company does in China is in some question. Piracy in the country is rampant, and ex-CEO Steve Ballmer once claimed in a 1.4 billion-strong market, Microsoft earns less revenue in China than the Netherlands. SAIC claims to have data backing up its investigation from the raids, but says that it cannot complete the investigation until some US Microsoft executives come to China, which seems unlikely.