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Microsoft China

China Gives Microsoft 20 Days To Respond To Competition Probe 79

Posted by samzenpus
from the explain-yourself dept.
An anonymous reader writes "China has given Microsoft three weeks to explain "compatibility issues" in Windows and Office that could violate Chinese competition laws. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) questioned Microsoft Vice President David Chen and gave the company a deadline to make an explanation, the agency said in a short statement on its website. Microsoft's use of verification codes also spurred complaints from Chinese companies. Their use "may have violated China's anti-monopoly law", the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday."
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China Gives Microsoft 20 Days To Respond To Competition Probe

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 01, 2014 @09:14AM (#47799851)
    China is more concerned about free economics than the US? Weird.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, China is more concerned about free economics than US corporations.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday September 01, 2014 @09:19AM (#47799871)

      China is more concerned about free economics than the US? Weird.

      No - both are very interested when it is to their advantage to be so, less interested otherwise

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Um no.
      China is more concerned about actually having to PAY for all their windows instances. This is just an opening blow in that negotiation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      China doesn't give a rat's ass about free economics. A good example is that any venture on their soil has to be 51% owned by a Chinese interest. Try that shit in the US, and companies will laugh themselves silly, and set up shop elsewhere.

      The issue is more of nationalism. Putting a foreign company up front of a Kafka-like kangaroo court is great for the domestic country's pride, as they have an enemy that stones can be hurled at. This is all the anti-Microsoft "investigations" are.

      At least the EU made i

    • by Livius (318358)

      Yet unsurprising.

    • by murdocj (543661)

      If you think this is about free economics, China has a bridge it wants to sell you.

  • by Shaman (1148) <{ten.sok} {ta} {namahs}> on Monday September 01, 2014 @09:19AM (#47799869) Homepage

    No government should be forcing its citizens into proprietary software which writes its data in proprietary ways without good, permanent ways to retrieve that data in the far future. Formats like OpenDoc are fully documented and open to public scrutiny. Not to mention the costs and risks of dealing with licensing; working with software that has no source code available.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      No government should be forcing its citizens into proprietary software which writes its data in proprietary ways without good, permanent ways to retrieve that data in the far future.

      You're right. Glad no government is doing that!
    • by nashv (1479253) on Monday September 01, 2014 @09:37AM (#47799979) Homepage

      You seem to believe that the reason people use Microsoft Office is because they are unaware of the more sensible choice. People use Microsoft Office because people resist change, and collections of people in bureaucracies resist change even more.

      Proprietary nature of information storage is considered a plus in bureaucratic circles - because many institutions have more money in their budgets than IQ or technical expertise in their staff. Proprietary means that when it breaks , somebody can be held responsible. It means that when someone doesn't understand something, they can fall back on their pre-existing knowledge of how to use a telephone and call support - thereby also absolving themselves on paper. The reason for work not done can be provided to superiors as "There is a problem with the software. Technical support is looking into it." The alternative would be to actually delve into the thing and try to fix it yourself - but that would involve learning something - which is not their job.

      Neither does it help that when it comes to open formats, the best answer you can expect is "You found a bug? Submit a patch".

      Open source software typically lacks a central authority that bureaucrats can complain to , sue if necessary, when things go wrong. The risk of licensing that you talk of is not even a factor - because the incentive to minimize one's own effort is higher than actually getting the task at hand done.

      This is always going to be a major problem unless mitigated by a Red-Hat like model of doing business. Still, the geek community fails hard at understanding why the typical institutions still use licensed and proprietary software. They are trying to approach the problem from the logical point of view, while what is at play here is human psychology, behaviour, and administrative politics.

      • by pete6677 (681676) on Monday September 01, 2014 @11:28AM (#47800687)

        LOL, good luck suing Microsoft when Office fucks up and causes you some sort of damages. They are liable for nothing, and might eventually patch the bug if they deem it worth fixing.

        • Liability not in the sense of suing someone, but in the sense that you won't be liable and your ass is safe.

          Say you are the CIO of a company. If you pick MS and something goes wrong, you can shift the blame onto MS. If you pick OSS and something goes wrong, well, the blame will be on you.

          Hence the old adage: nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.

          • by pete6677 (681676)

            This only works in large CYA-driven companies where upper management is clueless to anything technological. In startups, there is no time for the blame game. Hence, startups tend to eschew Microsoft/IBM.

      • by Lennie (16154) on Monday September 01, 2014 @12:54PM (#47801301) Homepage

        Do not confuse open formats and open source software. These are 2 different things.

        • It's true, but in the office suite space, the only programs that properly support open formats are currently OSS.

          The standard version of MOO-XML isn't implemented by MS Office (it still only supports the "transitional" version).

          MS Office does it's best to break ODF documents when possible as far as I can tell. It destroyed all the formulas in ODS sheets last time I tried editing one in Excel.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      No government should be forcing its citizens into proprietary software which writes its data in proprietary ways without good, permanent ways to retrieve that data in the far future. Formats like OpenDoc are fully documented and open to public scrutiny. Not to mention the costs and risks of dealing with licensing; working with software that has no source code available.

      If China wasn't conducting this probe, how would China be 'forcing' its citizens to use proprietary software? How is this probe removing the forcing of the use of proprietary software?

      • If the government using MSOffice and you have to send and receive documents from the government, the government effectively forces you to use proprietary software.
        • And the way to fix that is to launch a formal investigation into the supplier of the software? Bollocks.

        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          office exports plain text, rich text and html ya know

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          If the government using MSOffice and you have to send and receive documents from the government, the government effectively forces you to use proprietary software.

          Does the Chinese government force people to send documents in a proprietary format for which is there is no free software that can create that format?

          • I don't know. I do know that governments have, in the past, only accepted MS formats, and that even MS doesn't have perfect compatibility, which means that if you don't want to deal with the complications of compatibility, you are forced to have at least one machine in the office with MS Office.
            • But if that's the case, then the government should simply say "Do not us the proprietary MS format going forward, use format X". I don't see how Microsoft factors into this, other than grandstanding.

            • by jader3rd (2222716)

              I don't know. I do know that governments have, in the past, only accepted MS formats, and that even MS doesn't have perfect compatibility, which means that if you don't want to deal with the complications of compatibility, you are forced to have at least one machine in the office with MS Office.

              If that's really the concern here, should China be conducting a probe against itself, not Microsoft?

    • by Stan92057 (737634)
      Nothing is stopping FOSS from buying a license to said code why should they be allowed to get things for free? Oh wait this is communist china where 95% of the window computers are pirated. China is not an open free market.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      so let them use linux and open office, whats the problem here

      oh they want their cake and eat it too, for free apparently as well

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        meh., they want their cake.... and they want Microsoft to pay for it, a huge cake, larger than you could ever eat in a lifetime, with cherries on top.

        Worked for the EU after all !

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently just having the .iso file should be good enough. If Microsoft products can't be easily pirated, then China is pissed.

  • So which laws are being violated? Did China give Microsoft a specific list of complaints, and if so what are those complaints?
    • I suspect it's on the other side of the paper containing the list of patents Microsoft is claiming Android violates.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Monday September 01, 2014 @11:10AM (#47800547)

    Its a magnet for stupid lawsuits and everyone hates it anyway.

    And seriously why does MS care what browser you use... they make nothing on it either way.

    of course, every OS comes with a preinstalled browser... Possibly MS should just install the chinese browser instead in china. I'm sure the chinese have something appropriately stupid to foist on people. Throw that at them and then everyone can be annoyed by the chinese government for the first five minutes of using a new machine before they uninstall it and install something they'd rather have instead.

  • by Rick in China (2934527) on Monday September 01, 2014 @09:37PM (#47803957)

    China already beat Google's ass, I suppose it's MS's turn. MS was pretty much OK with the fact China has free-for-all piracy with their OS/office products with the expectations that they would be charging companies for licenses and the more people are familiar with/use their OS the more it'll be the OS of choice in the future, any computer plaza has any version available for 5 yuan (less than a buck), fully cracked..but now that China is putting some effort into getting involved in the desktop OS game - target MS! Fun.

    I know first hand that the SAIC *can be controlled* like an attack dog, it's a very corrupt agency. I'm not saying that MS isn't in breach of any regulations or anti-monopolistic practices in this case...what I'm saying is China doesn't typically give a shit about anything media/software companies are doing until they have an interest or feel a threat, then they decide to bring the hammer down hard and there is very little you can do about it because the general public doesn't care enough to start a ruckus - pirated copies of whatever you're selling will always be available anyways. If anyone could have evaded, Google would have - but simply got exhausted and pulled out with significant internal pains (and continuing pains.)

  • When Gates set up the deal to outfit China with MS OS, they didn't mind the product controls.Now they want to change the game plan? Someone better explain the contract to them.

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