Microsoft hield dit voorjaar op met het ondersteunen van besturingssysteem XP, dat na 13 jaar verouderd maar nog steeds zeer populair was onder gebruikers. Een onbedoeld gevolg: een conflict met de Chinese regering, die nog miljoenen PC’s heeft draaien op XP. Nu komt er een overheidsonderzoek naar machtsmisbruik van het bedrijf.
Microsoft was once regarded in Beijing as the top foreign technology company that most values its relations with Chinese authorities.
But rumors had been circulating for months that there were problems between the U.S. software giant and the Chinese government. On July 28, the rumors were partly confirmed when China’s State Administration for Industry (SAIC) suddenly initiated an investigation into four Microsoft China branches in Shanghai and Beijing, seizing documents and computers for antitrust inquiries.
According to You Yunting, an attorney at the Shanghai DeBund Law office, an antitrust investigation has been opened to probe alleged unfair trade practices and abuse of market dominance.
“Microsoft’s relationship with China finds itself in a very bad situation,” a Wall Street analyst told Caixin. “And it may get worse.”
The problems began over services for the company’s XP operating system.
Last year, Microsoft announced that it would no longer provide technical support for XP users, including system updates and security patches. This created potential security risks for nearly 200 million computers, including a significant number that belonged to Chinese state-owned enterprises and government departments. Meanwhile, Microsoft also raised the price of its Windows 8 operating system. Taken together, the decisions raised the ire of relevant Chinese government agencies.