China to Microsoft: You Have 20 Days to Explain Compatibility Problems

Paul Lilly

Microsoft must issue a written statement to China within 20 days

Around the same time China banned Windows 8 from government use over concerns that there could be built-in spying mechanisms, authorities also began investigating Microsoft for antitrust violations. The latest in China's antitrust probe over Microsoft's business practices has the State Administration for Industry and Commerce giving the Redmond outfit 20 days to issue a written explanation . What for, you ask?

The agency wants Microsoft to explain "problems like incompatibility and other issues caused by a lack of released information about its Windows and Office software," according to The Wall Street Journal's translation of the SAIC's online notice . That's an incredibly vague task, though the agency issued the 20-day deadline during a meeting with Microsoft, in which further details were likely given.

Citing state media reports, Reuters says Microsoft's use of verification codes led to complaints by Chinese companies. Interestingly, verification codes could be one of the ways Microsoft supposedly violated China's anti-monopoly law, though if that's the case, it puts Microsoft in a tough spot. Software piracy in China is a big problem for Microsoft, and it's difficult to see how verification codes could run afoul of antitrust laws.

Microsoft isn't China's only foreign target when it comes to anti-monopoly concerns. There are dozens of other companies being investigated, including Qualcomm, which China accuses of overcharging customers for its patents.

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