Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Under Radar for Antitrust Law Violation in China

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has once again gone under the investigation radar of Chinese anti-trust law authorities. The Chinese authorities have targeted the internet browser and media player, which comes bundled with the Windows OS. Ongoing tussle between the Microsoft and Chinese Government was discussed in a Reuters article.

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was not the only company, which faced legal issues in China. Many other companies like Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), German Automobile companies, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz also faced similar issues in China. The country’s authorities were recently in a tussle with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for security issues related to the iPhone spying concerns. Antitrust probes and tussles against the foreign companies has become an increasing trend in China.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was already under the antitrust scanner in the US and Europe for bundling Internet Explorer and Media Player with its operating system. In 2001, Microsoft has settled the case with the Department of Jutice in the US and got approval for bundling the apps with Windows. In 2004, Microsoft ended up paying 1.4 billion euro as fines and was ordered to release an OS version, without the media player bundling in Europe.

China focuses mainly on these two products for their antitrust investigation, but the probe might be extended beyond these two softwares as well.

“It’s possible the government hasn’t been successful in finding what they’re looking for, but by starting with these two products, it gives them time,” You Youting, a partner at Shanghai Debund Law Offices, was quoted as saying.

State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) revealed earlier this month that they are suspecting Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for violating the anti-monopoly law in China. They even raided many Microsoft’s offices in several Chinese cities and questioned Microsoft’s Deputy General, Mary Snapp, in Beijing.

“The investigation is presently ongoing, and we will disclose the results to the public in a timely fashion,” Zhang Mao, Head of SAIC, was quoted as saying.

SAIC has opened nine probes including the probe on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which targets companies in various sectors like software, telecommunication, tobacco, etc. The probe includes foreign, domestic, state-owned companies and trade-associations as well.

One of the larget shareholders of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is ValueAct Capital, led by Jeffrey Ubben, which owns around 74.2 million shares of the company.

Disclosure: None

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