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Chinese authorities target Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player in antitrust case

Internet Explorer

After raiding Microsoft's offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu last month due to issues with "compatibility, bundling and document authentication", Chinese regulators are now targeting the Redmond-based giant's web browser and media player.

This isn't the first time Microsoft drew ire from regulators for bundling Windows Media Player with Windows, as the organisation faced a 1.4 billion euro fine back in 2004 from European Union authorities. It similarly settled with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2001 in an antitrust case that centred around bundling Internet Explorer.

Zhang Mao, the head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, one of China's three anti-monopoly regulators, told journalists that Microsoft has not been fully transparent regarding its Windows and Office sales, and that he believed that the organization was still withholding information. He did mention that Microsoft was willing to cooperate with Chinese authorities in their investigation, the results of which will be disclosed "to the public in a timely fashion."

The Chinese government is undertaking measures to curb Microsoft's influence in the country by banning government purchases of Windows 8 over security concerns, and by launching the groundwork for its own PC desktop operating system, which is set to launch later this year.

What do you guys think of the the Chinese government's latest probe into Microsoft?

Source: Reuters

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Reader comments

Chinese authorities target Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player in antitrust case

162 Comments

What is their problem? I seriously dont understand. If they dont like MS and Win, why use it, go try to do better with Linux or whatever.
Why the fuck do they hate MS so much.
Jesus Christ, China, grow up, youre acting like a kid.

The only ones acting like children here are third parties getting mad about a sovereign state doing whatever they see fit with its market.

China puts the conditions, if MS don't like them they know where the door is.

let see if they go after apple for bundling safari and quicktime. this old news. if this is really against their laws, why didn't they take action when the european antitrust case was going on dealing with exactly the same issues? last i checked rival products like vlc and chrome were doing very well.

And where do you get the idea that Microsoft doesn't want to follow those stupid chinese laws? If you read the article at all, the douche-bag head of the chinese government of whatever bureau himself said 'quote' Microsoft was willing to cooperate with Chinese authorities in their investigation 'unquote'.

Exactly.  Right now, China is having a serious crack down on personal freedom. IE can get to websites and they are pissed about it.

That Doesn't even make sense for a while bunch of reasons. If I recall there already is a version of Windows without IE and media bundled. Also, what's preventing them from using something else? What about Chromebooks maybe they should sue Google for bundling chrome on that thing or Apple and safari and QuickTime. Or offering propriety connectors. This is all about making a quick buck, stealing secrets to build their own OS which will be a hackers dream when it gets deployed in their own government.

So what exactly is the reason for this frivolous waste of time:
1) to get more information on how to copy WOS for their own?
2) pissed off that XP is no longer around?
3) get more information for their spies to hack foreign gov'ts? (which they haven't seemed to really need)
4) pissed that they missed out on the 90's?
5) or, to have MS pay the Chinese govt for the Nokia purchase and subsequent layoffs (real or imagined)?

They're indeed acting like children. If you don't like it, find a solution without any further problems. Or just don't use it, and find something else. Or, if there's nothing else, just use what you CAN use!

Why don't they just ship the kernel and let the user choose everything else that he or she would like to have. Then you can compile your own OS. Oh.... Wait.... That's been done before. :)

lol

That is a splendidly progressive idea. China could start shopping around for OS designers.

The graphical artists of Big Red Yellow Star are about to see a huge boom in their worthiness; securing the future of that artform much like the caligraphists of yester-century.

The report says that china is going to release/wants to release an OS that will work not only with desktops but later on with phones and tablets. Windows 8 anyone?

They probably asked Microsoft for the code to W8 but Microsoft refused LOL I'll not be surprised if they come up with a cracked version of W8, give it a different name, and call it their own original OS. LOL!

Just like how early versions of the Shenzhen based Tencent's chat program looked and felt like they ripped the code from ICQ. lol!

But this is how they roll. Ban Facebook & Twitter and encourage local developers for Renren and weibo. Oh! Early versions of Renren and Kaixin had games that were exact rip offs of games popular on Facebook. LOL. Things are better now (although I stopped following, my Chinese sucks too much).

why you guys act so fiecely just for an investigation and work so hard to take it as a in conspiracy? win7 is still the most popular OSs in the gov office and the gov didn't force their people to use any specific OSs. as long as I konw, win8 is not accepted by most gov. and investigation about MS is worldwide. though, I like win8,wp,and any other products of MS.

Because IOS and Google both ship with Safari/Chrome browsers, yet no investigation into none of those companies. I thought that as long as you could install other browsers (Which you can), it was not big deal. Why is it such a big deal with Microsoft for China?

This all started when Microsoft refused to extend support for Win XP in China. The Chinese government was pissed because the vast majority of their offices were using pirated copies of Win XP.

Yes, not only do they pirate almost every copy of Windows they use they now have turned to extortion as well. Unfortunately companies just cannot afford to dump such a huge market, otherwise if it was a smaller country no doubt Microsoft would have simply walked out and told them to stick their antitrust cases where the sun don't shine.

Macs and google computers ship with safari/chrome on the systems, why aren't they being investigated?

they dont, they already have their own country made version of msOffice and a lot of other apps.... in case of OS they still use windows, but not for too long..

They could easily ship without IE and have the annoying browser choice thing come up on first install instead of two weeks later. Personally I wish they didn't have to give the browser choice thing, nobody cares that apple ship with safari, or that chrome ships with chrome.

Just no IE, why do they need to provide provisions and alternatives, just ship it without a browser at all. See how long it takes for people to figure out how to get something else installed.

Even if that's the case, IE can be there without there being any access to it (no icon/hidden exe) until you've chosen it in browser choice.

Well..just ship windows without ie.

That was the 'E' edition sold in EU, wasn't it? It was cancelled by Microsoft after negative feedback from PC manufacturers, which just goes to show what a stupid idea it was that the European Commission came up with.

It seems China and Microsoft is everything but a love story. Normally one would advice both parties to simply get a divorce. Problem is,Microsoft probably doesn't want to lose out roughly 1/5 of the world's population.

1.3 billion animals. With no money. The only things the chinamans have are disease and arrogance. Fuck the chinamans. Half a million dead every year from influenza. 5 million per decade. Thanks to the chinamans. Fuck them.

No disrespect, but your statement is prejudicial and ugly as the chinese citizens are being controlled by a dictatorship type of government, yet your statement includes all chinese wheather they are invovled in their governments attempts at monetary espionage at the exspense of Microsoft or not.

I agree w you OMG55.

The statement coming from 50000 is racist, ugly & prejudiced. Idiotic comments like that should be removed from this forum.

While it's true China is a large and very key market, due too rampant software piracy in the region, Microsoft actually makes very little money in China. So yeah, I'm sure Microsoft doesn't want to lose that market potential, but I'm sure how motivated they are to fight it when they aren't making any money and the government doesn't trust their products.

Selective outrage has reached China. Investigates IE for monopoly on Windows but ignores Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS.

That was the first thing I thought when I read that statement.. But then you notice they are also making their own Desktop OS.. That would explain the sudden need to knock out Microsoft..

What a witch hunt. They're just looking for any and all justification for their decision to ban MS software on government computers. I guess they really are butt hurt that MS dropped XP support!

They could have easily paid extra for extended support from Microsoft, so something tells me that's not the reason.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

It is the reason coupled with the fact that they are making their own desktop and soon to be mobile OS at which point, they will ban Apple and Google OS as well, In which case, they should fall into the category of a monopoly in china and face some sort of international sanctions. Wonder how they would feel if the US government banned all foreign import from chinese companies???? We all know who those tech companies are......the would take a major economic blow to their economy.

Wonder how they would feel if the US government banned all foreign import from chinese companies????

Almost everything seems to be manufactured in China's sweat-shops nowadays and the reason why things are cheap, so keep dreaming but it's never gonna happen.

They don't need a justification, they can simply ban Microsoft from selling products starting today, period.

But feel to continue with your little conspiration thing.

They don't need a justification, they can simply ban Microsoft from selling products starting today, period.

How? Isn't China part of the WTO and other such bodies?

And while Microsoft is being hauled over the coals for security and privacy issues, the test of China is using Android based phones?

I suspect google is behind this.

I seem to recall Google products are banned in China. Android is not solely Google. There's Android bundled with Google Play and services and then there's Android where the distributor has their own incarnation and store for it.

Yeah, they couldnt even come up with a new one - they just rehash something done 15yrs ago. Someone doesnt want to pay for new OS licenses for their new computers.

Really? It's not like they can't install Netscape & WinAMP and make them the defaults. Why is this still a thing and what does it have to do with sales transparency?

To all this...i say..well I will repeat what our Prime Minister said on Independence day..."Come Make In India"

Yeah right, we all know that's easier said than done. What infrastructure support are we offering? When will we do away with all the red tape and officially sanctioned extortion? We have the people to exploit just like China does, but when it comes to taking hard decisions and implementing them, let's face it a system like theirs works better at riding rough shod over obstacles than ours does. Of course that doesn't mean I'd be willing to give up whatever real or imagined freedoms we have as a democratic country to end up like the Chinese...

If its good. (doubt it will be) it could kill their chances in china. It will destroy the us operating systems if they can make it work. Probably won't be able to though

Their OS aspirations also extend to mobile devices. If it is good; Apple, Google and MS will lose a lot of business. What China seems to be doing is vilifying the competition in the public space. If their OS takes off, when will it become a mandate?

Ya. And if this is all about being spied on, what's their story about how the great firewall failing to protect their "republic". (I use quote because it's a farce)

Has anything with the "Made In China" label ever been quality or worth using? I'd not worry to much about a quality OS being created and released.  

Yes, there are quality products from China. They could just make their own Linux variant. They dont have to invent the whole OS from scratch.

Are you saying it would destroy their chances in other countries or also in the US? I will never buy a Chinese based OS. God knows what they'll do with the information they'd get from you. People think Google has bad information selling practices, I can only imagine what China would be doing.

Honestly, it shouldn't be that much as even the government was using pirated copies of window software on their computers and microsoft in the past few years was seeking to cut down on the amount of pirated software being used in China......Now the Empire is trying to strike back!

Well if anyone read the reports of Xiaomi and ZTE and Huawei spying on behalf of Chinese Govt it suddenly becomes clear why Google isn't being targeted and Microsoft and Apple are. Lol!

Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems like an industry wide "thing" for MS. Basically, it seems like they want to take MS out, of everything. They want that MS money.

China's government still operates like a third world country. Some MS officials probably refused to pay off a few officials and this is the retribution for that. You can't get anything new in there without paying off at least 3 levels of bureaucracy. Is just like Mexico.

Well chinamanland is a third world country and always will be, this is no surprise. The next chapter will be when the 63 million Muslims produce an uprising. Yes that's right chinamanland, don't conquer Muslim countries then just open your border, durhhh.

Its like being sued for including a browser to be able to download other browsers. Oh im sorry, Microsoft has to include competitor internet browsers to appease the Chinese... Grow up china

This is the obvious answer. They LOVE Windows over there. They are pissed off that Microsoft has gotten very good with piracy protection - they are having trouble stealing the new Windows. With Microsoft obsoleting WinXP out is forcing them into newer versions of windows, which have better piracy protection, lest they fall into obscurity.

So what do they do? They drum up some trumped up charges as an excuse to "closely review" source code. They then take what they learned from that source code to make their own OS.

This plot is plain as day to anyone with half a brain.

And then they'll have an exact replica of XP. However, since they're in China, when they get sued for patent infringement a judge will say it looks nothing like it. Better off to just exit the Chinese market. Sure, it's huge money, but it's also a huge pain.

they are having trouble stealing the new Windows

You seem to be out of touch with how easy it is to pirate Windows, even the latest version. This is a money grab from what they see as low-hanging fruit, pure and simple.

The real story is the oppression and control the Chinese government wants over its people. Guess how much spy and tracking software will be on their home grown OS. I need to invent a tin foil hat/ medical face mask for sale in China.

Boycott China oh wait that would just destroy us hahaha that is what happens when you send all your manufacturing other.

Except you're completely ignorant and every company still eagerly wants to do business here. Anyway alijahg34 is absolutely right, you can do away with 10 such plants but can't do away with the need for China's cheap manufacturing facilities overnight. Almost everything seems to be made there nowadays.

Be that as it may, I don't see them running away, do you? You said they don't want to do business here. I find the situation to be the exact opposite and both BMW and IBM are extremely bullish about their business in India. I'm not commenting on the legality (or lack of it) of the tax fracas, just on your comment that "nobody wan't [sic] to do business in India".

Anyway all this is off-topic. The article's about China and its extortion of Microsoft, not about our manufacturing facilities.

antitrust for having IE and media player on windows ? i'd like to see that happing to apple and google

This part of a much wider anti-American campaign by the Chinese government. They are punishing American corporations because the US is supporting Japan, South Korea, and others in territorial disputes. This week China played cat and mouse with a US surveillance plane. It's getting ugly.

As long as American corporations rely on the Chinese for cheap manufacturing facilities neither side is going to cross the line despite all their posturing and occasional sabre-rattling. That's the plain truth.

When are they going to target calculator and notepad with an antitrust case? I honestly think they should also target those. And why not regedit too.

Made in China ? They are trying to get more information as possible in order to complete their new OS before launching it.....that's China,copy,just copy !

I can almost guarantee that the OS they develop will be a near exact looking replica of Windows XP.

Most ppl are going to still use windows .Many legit customers will resort to pirated version of windows. This will hurt MS but China wont gain anything either..... Unless they create an amazing OS.

They realize they can't pirate Windows 8 easily, so at the idea of actually having to PAY for software, they'd rather extort instead.

They can't easily pirate Windows 8. They also can't stomach paying an American company large sums of money. That's what drove them to create their own system. That and their pretentious attitude.

Who says they can't pirate Windows 8 easily? If your average Joe can after a simple Bing/Google search how hard do you think it will be for China to do so? I agree with you about this being an extortion attempt though.

The US and the west have been rather dominant in software. In general the East hasn't done such a good job. Especially where usability and UI are concerned. I don't know why but talent and innovation there in these aspects have been lacking. This could be part of a bigger plan to tackle the software industry.

Why Does Apple and Google get a free pass? This is not faire! Force Apple to offer different browsers on iPhone!

So remove safari from all ipads, and chrome from android too as they are in monopoly positions respectivly !!!
Stupid China, as was Europe when the old stupid Mario Monti fined Ms for the same reason when he was EU chief. Now that man is riduculized all over Italy.

It will happen. China wears their nationalism on their sleeve. They've yet to feel the nationalism/pride the USA and many other nations around the world will exude towards them (by hackers and the like) when COS comes out and they start feeling holier than thou, pushing their system around like it's better than all the rest. I'll bet you they'll design COS so that all other systems (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.) have to be altered or include some weak coding just to communicate with it. I feel like this is all a charade. A dramatic expression by the kid that was never included in the group with everyone else. It's like China is self-conscious and insecure.

People people, lets be realistic. The Chinese repeat the same trick over and over again. Allow new technology into the country, copy it. Ban the original supplier and generate enough volume in china to become world market leader. Then export to the rest of the world below cost price, kill all local competition outside china and then all of the world depends on them. Have a look around your local store and try to find a product that is not produced in China. They will do the same thing with their OS. It's about time we westerners started playing by the same rules they do. That is, if we still want to live in a prosperous democracy 20 years from now!

I'd say your assumption that people the world over will cheerfully prefer a Chinese OS just because it's cheaper is quite flawed. If you want cheap there's Linux and it's far better than anything China will likely come up with despite all their grand posturing. In fact, wanna bet all they'll do is simply release a rebranded (and probably subverted for surveillance purposes) version of Linux? Yeah, who'll want to use that?

China demands Microsoft, stop using their OS, and other problems, and Cortana is available for they. Other countries have a great support to the company and M$ doesn't notice them. Giving services till last. So, do we need to be rude with Microsoft to make our country in their plans? I'm speaking for Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, and the rest of countries where WP had a great cuote.

Yup, be rude towards them and also procreate like crazy. Here in India we've already got the second part down pat; just need to work on the first.

I think it's all bs. I think these Chinese antimonopoly people are all full of shit. I think they're conspiring to make Microsoft look bad, not only so they have an excuse to switch systems but also to build up some type of prerelease need or desire for their pos Cos.

I'm going to report the undemocratically elected Chinese government to the antitrust and monopolies authorities.

Perhaps, China want MS to reveal their code so they can reverse engineer it and call it their own.  China is so corrupt and selfish.

They probably just want access to source code so they can copy it all into their own OS which is probably going to be a piece of shit otherwise.

That's the problem. Those machines are getting old and the OS is no longer secure. China needs a deal with MS. This is how you get bargaining leverage.

Wow, they will have their own is within the year! That is a quick time period to copy windows well.

Chinese government being number one in spying is so paranoid of being spied too. Scared on their own shadow.

Chinese are spying with their Xiaomi and Zte shit and what Xiaomi spokesman said"it was a little bug". Fuck u china. Well done Microsoft u gave Cortana to China first than India, now deal with Chinese shit.

They started stealing the islands of the Philippines. Now they want to steal the products of Microsoft. Soon they will declare they own the moon.

Chinese will fail for sure in making their OS bcoz nobody had not even developed Office Apps better till now. Open Office, King Office etc can work but far limited.

Besides the point that China is 10-15 years late in this so-called investigation, I never understood why it is okay to bundle Safari with MacOS and iOS and Chrome with Android and ChromeOS (okay, LOL but at least Android counts), but not IE with Windows? The funniest thing is that they are investigating the desktop apps where you can easily install another one. While I don't mind IE or WMP, I've never felt forced to use them. There were periods of time that I chose to use them and periods of time that I use alternatives. China doesn't seem to even be investigating Windows Phone or Windows RT where you really don't have much of a choice as Firefox and Chrome aren't available.

I have seen some truly horrific comments on here, and to the ethnic Chinese I sincerely apologize for the ignorance and stupidity of some of my fellow human beings. That being said, I never agreed with the original cases brought against MSFT on this subject and I certainly do not agree with them now. The alternative are many, varied, and very much available. I still hold that some of these proposed solutions would be like telling Coke that they have to include a can of Pepsi with every six pack of Coke they sell. To call MSFT a monopoly is to ignore the facts. I also believe that the recent actions of the Chinese government towards MSFT should make the management of MSFT take stick of what they really gain by doing business in China. Google, rightly so, moved all of their resources out of mainland China. I think MSFT should do the same. I also think they should lock out all know pirated copies of Windows and MS Office. Sending a kill command for these apps should be possible. The bundling of the browser and media player with the OS is common to all major OS's and is a good thing for the user as it allows them to pick up the device and work straight away. The user always has the choice to install and use something else.

Google, rightly so, moved all of their resources out of mainland China.

All? It is my understanding that Google still has a substantial R&D and sales presence in China, so it's not as if they have completely turned their backs on such a large market despite the obvious challenges.

The bundling of the browser and media player with the OS is common to all major OS's and is a good thing for the user as it allows them to pick up the device and work straight away. The user always has the choice to install and use something else.

Yes, but it was the stupid EU decision in the first place that has made it acceptable for everyone else to follow in their footstepts and extort from only one company and not the rest.

China is always insecure with USA not Microsoft. They are saying all this because Microsoft is an American organization. They have failed several times to make their OS and they have tried other alternatives but it never worked. I doubt if this will work...

Well.... considering that China has been stealing software from Microsoft (and other companies) for decades....  why do they care?

Clearly Microsoft hasn't been greasing the right government officials.

Here's one for you though... If the government is going to release their own OS then will they charge for it?

How can Microsoft have antitrust issues when the competition is something free and potentially government mandated..

I still dont understand why nobody is looking into apple and google products where you can't choose anything different from what they have decided for you. At the moment windows is the most open commercial OS. And they are still facing investigations and so on. Absurd!

Windows 8 wasn't good enough for government use,I think. They can use Windows 7 now, and I am so excited to see the coming Windows 9.