Microsoft faces China crisis

china-syndrome-one-sheet1Things are not shaping up well between Microsoft and the Chinese government.

A Chinese antitrust watchdog growled that Redmond had not been fully transparent with its sales data on the software it distributes in China.  It is particularly interested in the information regarding the sales of its media player and Internet explorer.

Zhang Mao, the head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), told reporters at a briefing in Beijing that after multiple meetings including at high levels, Redmond had “expressed a willingness” to respect Chinese law and collaborate with investigating officials.

Western companies operating in China must be finding the whole thing fishy. The Microsoft investigation comes amid a spate of anti-trust probes against foreign firms in China, including Qualcomm and Mercedes-Benz.  Word on the street is that the Chinese are looking to damage foreign companies.

Earlier this month the Chinese claimed that Microsoft was suspected of violating China’s anti-monopoly law since June last year in relation to problems with compatibility, bundling and document authentication for its Windows and Microsoft Office.

The SAIC is one of China’s three anti-monopoly regulators and raided Microsoft offices in several major cities. It had a quiet world with Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Mary Snapp.