Beijing considering antitrust suit against Microsoft? (UPDATE)

China has long benefited from stealing Windows. Now it wants to sue Microsoft for charging for it?

As I was pining for the good ol' days of predatory Microsoft , I read that the Jekyll side of Microsoft never really left. From All Things D:

In a status report filed with Federal antitrust regulators yesterday, Microsoft said it had done much to comply with its 2002 antitrust consent decree....

In the states, perhaps. But apparently not in Asia. Because not 24 hours later, China's State Intellectual Property Office said it's investigating the software giant for discriminatory pricing. And according to the Shanghai Securities News, it may sue Microsoft under a new antitrust law scheduled to go into effect Aug. 1.

Let me make sure I understand this: China has long benefited from stealing Microsoft's software. Now it's considering suing because Microsoft charges too much for the software it pirates?

Apparently, China's State Intellectual Property Office may be organizing a group of companies to sue Microsoft for using its market power to charge high prices in China, where the cost of Microsoft's software can easily exceed the hardware costs for a new PC.

But isn't this the land of piracy, where Microsoft's software is basically free, whatever the list price may say? Microsoft has used piracy as a strategic weapon in China . It's somewhat ironic to see China complaining about Microsoft's pricing. Does the government have an alternative in mind?


UPDATE: China's anti-piracy agency is now denying an investigation into an antitrust suit against Microsoft,the AP reports.

"Our office has never conducted research on monopoly behavior aimed at any enterprises," the [agency] said. "And at present we have no plan to conduct this work."

Right hand, meet left hand.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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