China Maybe-Possibly Investigating Microsoft

    June 19, 2008

The U.S. government has taken a few looks; the European Union more or less threw several fits.  It wouldn’t be surprising if China also raised antitrust issues with Microsoft, then, and there’s something of an argument taking place over whether this will happen.

On one side is the Shanghai Securities News, which reported that China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) is keeping an eye on the corporation.  SIPO is supposedly biding its time until an anti-monopoly law comes into effect in early August.

Only SIPO itself claims nothing’s happening.  It stated, "We have never carried out investigations on suspected market monopoly against enterprises, and currently we do not have any plans for this type of work either," according to the AFP.

It’s hard to know which side to believe.  SIPO wouldn’t gain anything material by keeping an investigation quiet for another month and a half; Microsoft isn’t nimble enough to change in that time.

There is Microsoft’s history to consider, though, as well as what’s happened to Google and Yahoo in China.  And if China wants this story to blow up, reporters would be more likely to cover it while they’re at the Olympics.

Steve Ballmer might want to check out the price of sending lawyers from Redmond to Beijing, just in case.