China probes Microsoft's Windows over antitrust concerns

Media player and web browser under scrutiny

Microsoft in China

The Chinese government is zeroing in on Microsoft as its State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), headed by Zhang Mao, confirmed that it is probing the company over its web browser, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player.

Both applications are tightly integrated with the operating system and were also the target of antitrust cases in the US and Europe in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Microsoft was ordered to pay billions of dollars worth of fines as a result and required to offer a choice of browsers on its Windows operating system.

Article continues below

A few weeks ago, the SAIC raided Microsoft's offices in China as part of the antitrust investigation but didn't provide any further details; at the time, it was posited that the move was to find out about any illegal tie-in between Office and Windows.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government banned Windows 8 on public sector computers and some wondered back then whether that was linked to the Windows XP end-of-life deadline.

But it looks like it might have something to do with China's decision to develop its own OS instead.