China regulator to investigate Microsoft

<p>Microsoft faces an investigation in China over “alleged monopoly actions”.</p>

Chinese authorities said today (July 29th) that Microsoft faces an investigation over its Windows operating system.

China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce said it was looking into "alleged monopoly actions" by the company. The announcement came after officials from the regulator visited some of Microsoft's local offices.

The company has not yet been accused of any specific wrongdoing and said it was working with officials. "We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect," Microsoft said. "We will actively cooperate with the government department's investigation and answer related questions."

The visits to Microsoft offices come just days after the China's anti-trust regulator said that Qualcomm, one of the world's biggest mobile chipmakers, had used monopoly power in setting its licensing fees.

According to the BBC, this led some to allege that China is using anti-trust probes to protect domestic firms.


"It has become increasingly clear that the Chinese government has seized on using the [anti-monopoly] law to promote Chinese producer welfare, and to advance industrial policies that nurture domestic enterprises," US Chamber of Commerce said earlier this year.

Microsoft also faces longtime challenges, including rampant piracy of its software in China, resulting in disappointing revenue.

The firm has announced it is to cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, marking the deepest cuts in the technology its history. In an open letter to staff, the firm said the bulk of the cuts (around 12,500) will be in its phone unit Nokia, which Microsoft bought in April 2014.

New chief executive officer Satya Nadella wants the firm to shift its focus away from software to online services, apps and devices. The cuts are aimed at helping Microsoft better compete with rivals including Google and Apple.

Microsoft Corp's shares were down 0.34 per cent to $43.82 (£25.87) today at 09:37 ET in New York. 

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