Microsoft probed on anti-trust grounds in China

China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has confirmed that it is investigating Microsoft for breaching antitrust regulations.

The probe comes as Microsoft is gearing to launch its Xbox One console in China, following the lifting of a 13-year ban on video game consoles in the country.

A statement from SAIC said that an investigation launched in June last year was inconclusive and a further probe has been launched. The US tech giants’ four China offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu were raided on Monday to gather evidence.

SAIC officials made copies of contracts and financial reports and removed computers and internal documents. They also questioned several Microsoft staff members, including a vice president, senior management and people working in the marketing and finance departments.

A Microsoft spokeswomen said the company would “actively cooperate” with the government’s investigation.

Some tech industry watchers have linked the probe to Microsoft’s recent decision to stop supporting its widely-used Windows XP operating system in China. The Chinese government responded by saying it would ban its officials from using Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8.

Microsoft has tied up with Shanghai-based set-top box maker BesTV to manufacture its Xbox consoles in China. Tencent and JD.com have been offering pre-orders to users of Tencent’s Wechat and QQ messaging platforms. The consoles will be shipped in September.