Apparently, China has “major issues” it wants Microsoft to explain…
In July of 2014, China raided Microsoft’s local offices and confiscated a lot of data as part of an antitrust investigation. On 2016-01-05, Chinese regulators demanded that Microsoft explain “major issues it discovered with that data”. This was the first time in over a year that China gave any indication that their antitrust investigation would be moving forward.
Microsoft has publicly stated that it is “serious” about complying with Chinese law and to addressing SAIC’s (China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce) concerns.
At the beginning of the investigation, China said it was interested in information on how both Windows and Office were bundled, about compatibility between the two and other unnamed concerns.
China’s most recent demands haven’t been clarified or spelled out, but SAIC has asked Microsoft to submit their “defense in a timely manner.”
God knows what they need to defend, or what Microsoft needs to respond to.
Some are speculating that this is retaliation due to Microsoft retiring Windows XP and discontinuing support for it to any and all customers – including the Chinese government and its citizens. China had asked Microsoft to extend XP’s lifespan. Microsoft refused. China said, “pretty please;” and Microsoft STILL said no. China has banned the use of Windows 8 on any government computers.
Microsoft is heavily pushing the adoption of Windows 10 around the world, and China is no exception to this marketing strategy. A short while ago, as of this writing, Microsoft expanded a partnership with one of China’s largest defense firms where it would license Windows 10 to government agencies and some state owned corporations in the energy, telecommunications and transportation industries.
While this is a serious issue, and while Microsoft is giving this issue the appropriate level of priority, it seems as though Microsoft could make all of this go away if they simply provided continued Windows XP support to the Chinese government.
I’m pretty certain, however, that capitulation isn’t a consideration for Microsoft, for a number of different reasons, the most important being
- Microsoft isn’t providing preferred XP support to anyone
- Microsoft is pushing the world’s Windows users to Windows 10
- Windows XP has been heavily pirated in China
Given all of this – and especially the last two points – Microsoft doesn’t really have any incentive TO capitulate. I know I wouldn’t want to if I were Satya Nadella.
Until SAIC can specify what they want Microsoft to respond to, I’m not certain how anyone would reasonably respond to this – in a timely manner or not.
What do you think? Is China’s SAIC just ticked off that their XP PC’s are unsupported? Does Microsoft have anything tangible to worry about in China? What do you think the final outcome will be?
Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and let me know what you think?