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Chinese antitrust probe picks out Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player for scrutiny

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by Darren Allan, 26 Aug 2014News
Chinese antitrust probe picks out Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player for scrutiny

There has been more (big) trouble for Microsoft over in China, as the software giant is now facing scrutiny of its web browser (Internet Explorer) and Windows Media Player.

This is part of a Chinese antitrust investigation against Redmond, which apparently kicked off when Microsoft's offices in China were swooped on by officials from the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) at the end of July.

The latest from SAIC, according to Reuters, is that the head of the organisation, Zhang Mao, told assembled press in Beijing that while Microsoft has been willing to cooperate with its investigation, the software maker has failed to be fully transparent when it comes to details of its Windows and Office sales.

That sounds somewhat ominous, as does the fact that the probe has now picked out Internet Explorer and Microsoft's media player for scrutiny – two bundled pieces of Windows software which have been the subject of much antitrust controversy (and major fines for Microsoft) in the past. The investigation could well encompass much more than this pair of products eventually, though – this may just be the obvious starting point for SAIC.

You Youting, a partner at Shanghai Debund Law Offices, told Reuters: "It's possible the government hasn't been successful in finding what they're looking for. But by starting with these two products, it gives them time."

All this is happening against a backdrop of anti-Redmond sentiment which has been gathering momentum in the country of late. Back in May, China hit Windows 8 with the ban stick, declaring it a security risk, and just yesterday we heard news that the government has concocted a scheme to develop its own home-grown OS to replace Windows in a year or two (or that's the plan – and eventually Android further down the line).

China is certainly looking to be an increasingly shaky market for Microsoft.

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