While little is known at this point, Microsoft China has confirmed that it faces an official inquiry in that country, possibly related to antitrust. And various reports note that at least four Microsoft offices in China were visited by government officials early Monday, with those officials questioning employees.
"We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect," a cryptic Microsoft statement notes. "We will actively cooperate with the government department's inquiry and answer related questions."
Here's what we know so far. It's not much.
Officials from China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce suddenly and unexpectedly visited Microsoft offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai on Monday, according to one report. The officials—referred to as "investigators" in a separate report—questioned employees at each location.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce has various responsibilities related to corporations that do business in China. One of them is antitrust related.
Microsoft has not been publicly accused of any wrongdoing or been the target of a formal action. But the software giant has been at the center of foul US/China relations related to spying activities by both governments. China is actively seeking to replace Microsoft systems in government with technology developed by its own government, and it recently banned the use of Windows 8 on Chinese government PCs.
Oddly, Microsoft also saw some good news in China today: Retailer JD.com will be the first to distribute the firm's Xbox One video game console in that country. It is accepting preorders now, beating Sony to this huge and critical market.