China: A potential, new antitrust battleground for Microsoft

Joining the U.S., the European Union, Japan and other sundry antitrust investigators who have set their sites on Microsoft, China is now looking into whether Microsoft is abusing its monopoly power.

Joining the U.S., the European Union, Japan and other sundry antitrust investigators who have set their sites on Microsoft, China is now looking into whether Microsoft is abusing its monopoly power.

According to reports citing Xinhu Financial News, China's State Intellectual Property Office is investigating whether Microsoft engaged in discriminatory pricing and unfairly hurt consumers by bundling other programs with Windows.

So far, no lawsuits have been filed as part of the China probe. But a new anti-monopoly law is slated to take effect in China on August 1, increasing speculation that one or more suits may be forthcoming.

I asked for Microsoft comment, but there's no response available yet from Microsoft U.S. 

Update: A company spokesperson made public the following statement:

"We are not aware of any competition law investigation. We fully support China's efforts to establish an environment conducive to promoting fair competition and we believe we are in compliance with Chinese law. We also believe efforts such as the AML (anti-monopoly law) will better safeguard interests and benefits of consumers, encourage innovation and enhance economic development."

Wonder if there's a Chinese equivalent of Neelie Kroes waiting in the wings to take on the Redmondians....

Update No. 2:  China's State Intellectual Property Office is now denying that it is investigating potential antitrust violations by Microsoft.

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