Chinese regulators launched a criminal investigation last week into Microsoft’s business operations for alleged antitrust law violations.
In a prepared statement, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), the agency that oversees market supervision and regulation, said it sent 100 law enforcement authorities in Beijing, Shanghai, and several other provinces to four Microsoft offices on “antitrust raids” for allegedly breaching China’s anti-monopoly law. The authorities took with them financial statements, computers, electronic data files, and more, the SAIC stated.
SAIC further added that these raids involved interviews with senior management, including the vice president of Microsoft, as well as personnel in marketing, finance, and other departments.
“SAIC believes that Microsoft cannot be eliminated through early verification of anti-competitive behavior above suspicion,” SAIC stated. Microsoft’s alleged monopolistic behavior is now an ongoing criminal investigation, it warned.
The anti-trust raid comes at a time when antitrust enforcement activity for multinational continues to increase around the world, particularly in China. Look for in-depth coverage on these anti-trust enforcement trends in an upcoming issue of Compliance Week.