Microsoft CEO to visit China amid antitrust investigation

Microsoft CEO to visit China amid antitrust investigation

Summary: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to visit China at a time when the company is under investigation by the Chinese government over alleged antitrust behavior.

TOPICS: Microsoft, China
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to visit China late next month potentially to resolve issues relating to an antitrust investigation being held against the company.

Nadella, who took the helm of the tech giant in February this year, will be visiting China -- although it is unclear whether he plans to meet with Chinese officials in relation to the Redmond giant's antitrust investigation, as reported by Reuters.

China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), one of China's antitrust watchdogs, initiated the investigation in to Microsoft earlier this month. The target of the investigation is Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and Windows Media Player, of which sales records are "problematic," according to Zhang Mao, the head of SAIC.

Despite rampant piracy of the Windows operating system across China, the watchdog says that Microsoft is potentially breaking anti-monopoly laws regarding the compatibility, bundling and document authentication used within Windows and the Office application suite.

The Redmond giant's offices in China were raided as a result of the probe, and Microsoft allegedly failed to willingly co-operate with Chinese investigators.

The antitrust probe, based upon a Chinese anti-monopoly law set in stone in 2008, drags up the same issue which was settled over a decade ago in Europe. In consideration that Apple and Google are now heavyweights in the operating system market mainly due to the popularity of iOS and Android on mobile devices, the antitrust probe has been met with some confusion outside of China.

Microsoft is one of many companies currently under scrutiny in the Asian country, a list which includes US chip developer Qualcomm and automaker Mercedes-Benz. Qualcomm has been accused of anti-competitive business practices, and Mercedes-Benz allegedly has fixed prices in China by "controlling the price of spare parts and repair and maintenance in downstream markets."

Another factor to consider is China's growing distrust of foreign technology. In July, Chinese state media branded Apple's iPhone a "national security concern" due to the device's GPS-related services, an accusation Apple vehemently denies.

Topics: Microsoft, China

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  • He best be careful ...

    China has been known to put foreigners in prison for things that aren't usually considered crimes...
    • I was thinking the same thing

      About the only advantage Mr. Nadella has is that he's the CEO of one of the world's richest and most powerful corporations. China could arrest him anyway; but it would produce all sorts of unwelcome publicity; would certainly complicate relations with the US and might complicate relations with India as well (I would expect the Indian government to go to bat for one of its more prominent citizens).

      Nevertheless, he is taking a risk. We'll see what happens.
      John L. Ries
      • I thought similarly, earlier

        John L. Ries wrote:
        "I would expect the Indian government to go to bat for one of its more prominent citizens)"

        Satya Nadella is a U.S. citizen as well as a former citizen of India. It's not clear to me whether or not India allows dual-citizenship (there's lots of conflicting information on the Internet, some of which states that the Indian constitution does not permit dual-citizenship).

        However, there is Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI):

        I have no idea if Mr. Nadella has ever applied for and was granted an OCI. In any case, I do not believe that being an OCI would provide the same degree of "protection" that Indian citizenship would.

        Perhaps Ram U (or someone else here at ZDNet) with ties to India can chime in ...
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Didn't know he was naturalized.

          Thanks for the datum.
          John L. Ries
  • Microsoft begs China, sends tool

    Board sends CEO running to beg as China threatens corporate ban on ALL ms products. Justified, China warned Redmond over the years countless times, yet Microsoft continued its routine perpetuated upon the American people like a plague bring the formula to the mainland. Yet the government is not as corrupt or sold out as the west, so payoffs are needed firstly and in traditional means, a feast.

    Redmond is guilty of always-on backdoors in all its applications. Gov analytics are the core principle of Windows design, China is a decade too late.

    A foreign country is looking more powerful than this corrupt political scheme of democracy for the highest bidder, where abuse ans scandals are so common, its not even news.

    The ethics and morality of tthe country reside in companies that bleed from the common good of mankind while raping from the poorest for the biggest gain regardless of impact to community. This company is more dangerous than any superpower today.

    Fortunately, we have migrated off anything built by Microsoft as the only American thing left we could do.

    goodluck America.