Microsoft CEO to visit China amid antitrust investigation

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.

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.