Might Office be where Microsoft gets socked with Chinese antitrust charges?

According to a new story from the August 15 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft still might not be out of antitrust hot water in China. And Office, not Windows, may end up the primary target of any new antitrust complaints.

Back in June, there were more than a few stories about PC makers in China getting ready to sue Microsoft for alleged antitrust violations pertaining to Windows. Microsoft and China's State Intellectual Property Office -- the latter being the source of the original round of stories -- both claimed the initial reports were inaccurate.

But according to a new story from the August 15 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft still might not be out of antitrust hot water in China. And Office, not Windows, may end up the primary target of any new antitrust complaints.

From the WSJ story:

"Evermore Chief Executive Gus Tsao said he's prepared to pursue Microsoft under a new anti-monopoly law that took effect in China on Friday. The law is widely expected to be used to curtail the dominance of foreign companies doing business there, such as Microsoft....

"Tsao said 'there's no question Microsoft engages in many monopolistic practices,' adding that the tight integration between Office and Microsoft's dominant Windows operating system makes developing a product that works as well with Windows difficult."

Meanwhile, in other antitrust news, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission is investigating whether Microsoft is abusing its monopoly power there by "limiting consumer choice by restricting the availability of Windows XP on new PCs." Investigators also are looking into whether Microsoft's pricing of its various products is fair to consumers, according to an IDG News Service story.

I'm kind of surprised we haven't seen anantitrust complaint filed here in the U.S. around XP availability (even though Microsoft does allow Vista purchasers to downgrade to XP -- an option of which quite a few users seem to be availing themselves).  I'm not suggesting that such an antitrust complaint would have merit; I'm simply surprised no one has tried filing one....

What's your take?

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