By now you've heard about how the Chinese government is undergoing operations to locate evidence of Microsoft anticompetitive pricing behavior through surprise office visits and chest-thumping public statements.
The latest movements by China is just another effort in a growing list of actions against Microsoft in the last few years. Additionally, China has banned government use of Windows 8, citing possible espionage ties in light of the U.S. NSA's spying revelations exposed by Edward Snowden. The country was also not happy that Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, which is still in use in great numbers in China. China is going as far as to developing its own, state-sanctioned operating system, which is set to release in October.
So far, it seems that China has been unable to find any evidence of wrongdoing. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean China is finished hassling Microsoft. Unable to find evidence for anticompetitive practices so far, the government is switching tactics and shifting some resources to reviewing potential issues with how Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player is bundled with Windows. Sound familiar? It should. In 2001 Microsoft settled with the U.S. Department of Justice over bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and in 2004 the company was ordered to pay a $656 million fine by the European Union for bundling Windows Media Player. Both were seen as operations that unfairly pushed competitors out of the market.
Why dredge up something that has been satisfied in the eyes of the world and the market for over 10 years? It's possible that China is simply trying to give itself time to find something wrong with Microsoft since it's been unable to locate any glaring evils. It's also possible that the government is biding time until October when it releases its own operating system in an effort to use any findings to make the OS more favorable.
Zhang Mao, the head of the antitrust regulator for China, said…
"The investigation is presently ongoing, and we will disclose the results to the public in a timely fashion."