China: We’re Treating Microsoft and Local Companies Exactly the Same

Chinese officials claim they do not discriminate Microsoft and other foreign companies

Microsoft is now involved in an anti-trust probe in China, just like several other foreign companies, including Daimler, Audi, Chrysler, and according to some rumors, Cupertino-based firm Apple.

While until now only vague information has been offered to the press, a statement released by the Ministry of Commerce comes to set things straight in this saga, confirming that several foreign firms have been included in the investigation, and Microsoft is among them.

At the same time, ministry spokesman Shen Danyan has pointed out that foreign companies are treated exactly the same as local firms are; so while some might see some discrimination in this investigation, this is not the case, he stresses.

"Looking back at the past six years after the Anti-Monopoly Law took effect, both domestic and foreign firms have been probed according to the law," he has said, according to Xinhua news agency. "The Chinese government has always been dedicated to creating an equitable business environment for companies and safeguarding the order of market competition.”

The first hit Microsoft received in China was revealed in May, when the central government announced that Windows 8 was banned on state computers. Microsoft at that time confirmed that this decision came out of nowhere and told us in a statement that it started negotiations with local authorities to remove the ban.

“We were surprised to learn about the reference to Windows 8 in this notice. Microsoft has been working proactively with the Central Government Procurement Center and other government agencies through the evaluation process to ensure that our products and services meet all government procurement requirements,” a company spokesperson told us.

“We have been and will continue to provide Windows 7 to government customers. At the same time we are working on the Window 8 evaluation with relevant government agencies.”

More recently, Chinese investigators have raided Microsoft offices in the country and have even seized several computers and documents as part of the anti-trust probe that also involves the Redmond-based software giant.

While Microsoft hasn’t commented too much on this investigation, the company has actually expressed its intention to collaborate with Chinese authorities in order to demonstrate that no competition rules are violated in the country.

In the meantime, Windows 8 remains banned on government computers, even though Microsoft is making really big efforts to convince authorities that it doesn’t affect security in any way. In the meantime, Windows XP and Windows 7 continue to dominate the local OS market, with sources claiming that many of these installations are actually using pirated licenses.

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