China's Intellectual Property Watchdog is reportedly investigating anti-monopoly claims targeting Microsoft and other international software companies.
According to Agence France Press (citing Xinhua Financial News and state-owned Shanghai Securities News), A spokesperson for the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office said that an investigation is being carried out which could potentially give way to onerous lawsuits.
Anti monopoly laws will take effect in China as from the 1st of August 2008 and could stress relationships between the US and China.
Observers (opens in new tab) say that the Chinese authorities could follow the European Union, US and other countries and slow down Microsoft's expansion in the world's biggest computer market.
Sources within China say that the regulators will highlight discrepancies in pricing which tend to penalise Chinese buyers; for example, the combination of Microsoft Office Suite and Windows OS is far more expensive than buying a bare PC.
Korea and the European Commission have together fined the software giant more than USD 800 million in the past years, a fraction of Microsoft's Quarterly profits.