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China: Experts discuss controversial, confusing Microsoft probe

 |  September 3, 2014

Amid controversy and confusion surrounding China’s antitrust investigation into Microsoft, experts say that the case should be taken seriously by the tech company.

China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, once of three regulators tasked with antitrust duties, recently gave Microsoft 20 days to respond to inquiries regarding the company’s business practices. But as China continues its crackdowns, the exact nature and charges of the case against Microsoft remain unclear.

China’s action against foreign companies through competition watchdogs has caused many antitrust experts to question whether the nation is acting unfairly and biased against the firms in favor of domestic competition.

David S. Evans (GlobalEcon/UChicago), recently interviewed by Bloomberg on the topic, stressed that Microsoft should take China’s probe “very seriously,” despite the fact that the exact reason for the investigation remains unclear.

Evans was interviewed along with Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” who stressed that even the trend of executives traveling to China to promote their business abroad has not helped companies’ cases in competition matters.

The nation’s Anti-Monopoly Law has only been in existence for six years, as Evans notes, which is extremely young relative to other jurisdictions’ competition legislations. Now, Evans says, China has been quick to so aggressively utilize their rules, noting that it is “surprising” how harshly the young rules have been implemented as of late.

Chang, however, disagreed, suggesting that domestic conglomerates are earning an increasingly powerful presence within the government that may be influencing how federal officials in China are treating their foreign competitors.

Full content: Bloomberg

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