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China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain

Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper

Microsoft-themed Monopoly board

China's antitrust regulator has given Microsoft 20 days to hand over a written explanation of how the Windows OS works together with the bundled Office software suite as part of its probe into the firm’s alleged monopoly activities.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) said in a statement (translated by Google) that it had spoken to Microsoft vice-president David Chen and told him they needed the company to give a full explanation of the two programs' interactions within the 20-day deadline.

The competition authority also repeated its suspicions that Microsoft hadn’t fully disclosed issues to do with the compatibility of the software with the operating system.

Microsoft is just one of a number of Western tech firms that have been put under the microscope by Chinese authorities under its newly-minted antitrust regulations, which have only been around for the last six years. The country appears to have stepped up its scrutiny of foreign companies – particularly US firms – in the wake of the Snowden NSA revelations.

Microsoft said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that it “strictly adhered to” China’s laws and that it was cooperating with the SAIC’s investigation. ®

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