Microsoft’s (MSFT) Nadella to Head to China Amid Antitrust Probe

Satya Nadella

Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella is set to visit China in late September amid an anti-trust probe into the software giant by State Administration for Industry and Commerce [SAIC], one of China’s antitrust regulators.

A Microsoft spokesperson, who acknowledged the trip but tried to defuse any tension around the antitrust investigation, told Reuters on Thursday that Nadella ‘s trip “was planned before the Chinese government investigation began”.

It is not clear if Nadella, who took over as Microsoft CEO in February, will meet representatives of SAIC or whether he will reach out to the Chinese government to resolve the current investigation. However, Nadella’s visit falls in the midst of several investigations of foreign firms in China, including that of Qualcomm (QCOM). Some critics say China’s intention to enforce a 2008 anti-monopoly law is being used to unfairly target major American businesses.

Nadella’s plan to visit China may have also been triggered by a statement made this week by Zhang Mao, the head of SAIC, who said “Microsoft is suspected of incomplete disclosure of information related to Windows and Office software, as well as problems in distribution and sales of its media player and browser.”

Despite SAIC’s claim, Zhang added that Microsoft has expressed willingness to cooperate with ongoing investigations. “After multiple meetings including at high levels, they’ve expressed a willingness to respect Chinese law and collaborate with investigating officials,” Zhang said.

Microsoft has yet to publicly comment on the latest SAIC announcement. But the company has said to Wall Street Pit in the past it is “serious about complying with China’s laws and committed to addressing SAIC’s questions and concerns.”

Shares in the $370 billion market cap company closed at $45.43 on Friday.

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