Chinese antitrust authorities have opened an investigation into Microsoft’s bundling practices. Accusing Microsoft of exhibiting anti-competitive behavior, Chinese officials are concerned with Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player being included in Microsoft Windows.
These are the same concerns US and EU regulators have had in the 90s. In the early days of personal computers, there were a lot of unknowns involving how Microsoft was shaping the tech landscape by bundling its software with Windows. Eventually it was concluded in the EU that Microsoft had to offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player. Also in the EU, the first time the internet is accessed, customers are prompted with a browser ballot where they choose a browser and it is downloaded and installed.
In the US, there was less strict fall out from the antitrust lawsuits. Microsoft was required to provide the APIs to enable developers to create competitive software such as media players and web browsers. Microsoft was not required to sell a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player like they had to in the EU, and as we can see, Microsoft is still providing Internet Explorer with Windows in the US.
This new Chinese investigation is one of many probes through out the country. Foreign companies such as Qualcomm and German car maker Daimler AG’s (DAIGn.DE) luxury auto unit Mercedes-Benz have experienced similar probes into business practices. These investigations raise red flags over concerns the Chinese government may be trying to give Chinese companies an advantage.
What do you think of this new investigation? Do you think China is over stepping their boundaries? Do you think Microsoft deserves this investigation? Let us know in the comments below!Further reading: Antitrust, China, Microsoft