Microsoft is concealing information about software sales in China, Chinese regulators allege, and they are expanding their search for evidence of alleged monopolistic practices.
The latest move in China's Microsoft investigation focuses on Microsoft's media player and browser. Chinese regulators already have Microsoft's Windows operating system and Office productivity software under the microscope.
China's probe of Microsoft began in June 2013 when an undisclosed company raised antitrust issues against the tech company in relation to Windows and Office. The antitrust probe was dialed up last month as regulators raided the tech company's offices in Shanghai and Beijing.
But the investigation may be a smoke screen while Chinese officials are actually investigating other issues, according to You Youting, a partner at Shanghai Debund Law Offices. They also are investigating other foreign companies, including Japanese and German car companies.
"It's possible the government hasn't been successful in finding what they're looking for," You said. "But by starting with these two products, it gives them time."
While Chinese regulators continue to pat down Microsoft, China's government is said to be preparing to launch a desktop OS to begin a national migration away from Windows. China has already banned Windows 8 use on government computers.
The unnamed OS could be released as early as October. It would be launched on desktops and laptops before expanding it's reach to mobile devices.
Ni Guangnan, of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China's government was needed to lead software development. With intellectual rights of China's mobile OS products tied to Google's Android, Ni said it was up to the government to facilitate the growth of home-grown products.
"Our key to success lies in an environment that can help us compete with Google, Apple and Microsoft," said Ni.
Tech and financial analysts have been expressing fears that China's aggressive antitrust campaign is more an effort to push outsiders out of the country than to merely uphold Chinese law.
"I've been thinking already for quite a while that China is closing again and is becoming fairly hostile to international influence," said Anne Stevenson-Yang, director of J Capital Research in Beijing.
The Edward Snowden revelations and U.S. national agency spying activity may have stoked China's most recent investigative actions, but it's also possible they're being used to as pretext for isolationism.
"American companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc., are all coordinating with the Prism program to monitor China," stated the People's Daily. "To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draft international regulations and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish pawns of the villain."