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Antitrust News (Again)

Recent reports about Microsoft [1]being a target for China’s new antitrust laws have resurfaced in Caijing Magazine, which reports:

“On July 31, one day before the new anti-monopoly law went into affect – the first of its kind for China – came into effect, lawyer Dong Zhengwei formally petitioned the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC), and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to open an antitrust investigation into Microsoft.

Dong alleged that Microsoft has used its 70 percent market share to manipulate software prices in China. He proposed a US$ 1 billion fine on the company.

On August 21, Dong received a formal notice from the MOC stating that antitrust investigations should be conducted by the NDRC and SAIC. In the same day, the NDRC formally notified Dong that his petition against Microsoft had been accepted and would be handled by the NDRC’s price monitoring department.

An official from the drafting committee that wrote the anti-monopoly law told Caijing that Microsoft will face a punishment from NDRC, SAIC and MOC if the company’s alleged monopolistic activities are verified by the investigation. Microsoft will have the right to appeal if it is found to be in violation.”

It will be interesting to see where this leads, but for the moment anyone with concerns would be well advised to monitor the situation, and to take a look at China Law Blog’s latest post on related M&A notification rules [2]from Steve Dickinson, which notes:

FDI in China needs more than just money to succeed these days.

See news source:

Microsoft Faces an Antitrust Investigation [3]
The NDRC has accepted the petition of a Chinese lawyer calling for an antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s business practices.