Accenture caught up in Microsoft China antitrust probe

Summary:Chinese regulator visits Accenture's Dalian office to access Microsoft-related documents as part of an ongoing anti-monolopy investigation on the software vendor. The NYSE-listed consulting firm insists it's "not part of the antitrust probe".

Accenture says it is "cooperating" with China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) in the regulator's ongoing antitrust probe of Microsoft in the country.

The NYSE-listed consulting firm was responding to an earlier statement from the SAIC, which said its officials were sent on an unscheduled visit to Accenture's office in Dalian City, located in the northeast Liaoning province, to collect documents related to its investigation on Microsoft. 

When contacted for further comments, a Singapore-based representative forwarded a statement from Jim McAvoy, Accenture's global senior director of corporate communications: "SAIC came to Accenture's office to secure copies of Microsoft documents; we provided them to SAIC with Microsoft's permission. We are cooperating with the SAIC. We have no other information we can provide."

He said Accenture provides administrative services to Microsoft as part of a business process outsourcing deal and insisted: "Accenture is not under investigation. Accenture is not part of the antitrust probe."

Various media agencies including XinhuaWall Street Journal and Reuters had reported that Accenture was involved in the Microsoft antitrust investigation and that SAIC was investigating Accenture's China offices

SAIC last month made similar "surprise visits"  to several of the software vendor's China offices--including Beijing and Hubei--making copies of its financial statements, contracts, and other documents from its servers. Microsoft also said  it was cooperating  with the Chinese government.

Chinese officials revealed that complaints from unnamed sources had prompted the investigation into claims  Microsoft violated the country's anti-monopoly  and antirust laws. The allegations involved compatibility, bundling of software, and document authentication related its Windows operating system. 

The Chinese government in May said Windows 8 would not be allowed  on newly-procured government computers and mobile devices, but gave no reason for the ban . Xinhua, though, suggested the move was in response to Microsoft's end of support and security updates for Windows XP, which still runs on many computers used in the public sector. The report said the Chinese government had likely excluded Windows 8 in its procurement bids to avoid a similar situation in future where there would be no guaranteed technical support for the operating system. 

Symantec and Kaspersky also face similar bans in China after their were  removed  from a list of antivirus software suppliers approved to sell to government agencies. The two IT security vendors later clarified that the restrictions did not include  local governments and large enterprises in the country, and only applied to agencies funded by the central government.

Topics: Legal, China, Microsoft, Software

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 15 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings. Eileen majored i... Full Bio

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