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 Xinhua, Wall 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.