China has refuted claims that its antitrust probes against western companies are protectionist, despite giving Microsoft 20 days to respond to accusations of holding a monopoly on Chinese soil.
Chinese news firm Xinhua reported that on Monday a special investigation team had questioned Microsoft vice president David Chen and others in the company about alleged monopoly activity.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) then gave Microsoft 20 days to respond and defend itself against the charges.
With a spate of western companies, including Qualcomm and Mercedes-Benz, coming under scrutiny from Chinese government departments, some are accusing China of protectionism.
According to Reuters, the American Chamber of Commerce in China has accused the nation of stifling western companies on its mainland in order to ensure that native businesses thrive.
However, in a statement to Xinhua, Xu Kunlin, a director at China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), dismissed this criticism, noting that both foreign and domestic companies must abide by anti-monopoly law in China.
"Some business operators in China have failed to adjust their practices in accordance with the Anti-Monopoly Law," declared Xu, defending the SAIC probe.
He added: "Others have a clear understanding of the law, but they take the chance that they may escape punishment."
Xu declared that probes into companies are initiated due to public complaints and reports, not because companies come from different countries.
The charges Microsoft faces involve investigations into the company using the strength of its Windows operating system to help its other products succeed.
By bundling Internet Explorer browser with is Windows Media Player, SAIC is accusing the technology firm of closing ranks and preventing rivals from using their products on Windows.
Microsoft has also faced monopoly accusations in Europe and the US. The case was settled with the US Department of Justice in 2001, while the European Commission hit Microsoft with a €497m fine in 2004.
The NDRC says it cannot make any progress with the investigation as key Microsoft executives are neither in China or able to be contacted. Meanwhile, SAIC said it is continuing its probing and will release the results into the public domain once the investigation is complete.
Microsoft's chief executive Satya Nadella will be visiting China in late September, but the firm did not disclose whether he will meet with any Chinese government representatives, or if he will try to resolve the issues with SAIC directly.
V3 contacted Microsoft for more clarification on the matter, but so far the company has declined to comment.
Xinhua reported that Microsoft said it will facilitate the investigation and "actively answer" questions raised in the antitrust case.
Microsoft is in good company with the monopoly charges it faces, as Qualcomm currently faces similar charges being brought against it by the NDRC.
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