Giant tech firms have a history of getting hit with gut-shots during anti-trust cases, facing massive criticism and huge fines, but Microsoft seems to have mostly skated in its latest case in China, where it was given only a minor fine for breaching anti-trust law, as it was said not to have had much of an effect on the free market.
The anti-trust investigation is related to Microsoft’s partnering with BesTV, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media Group, in order to bring the Xbox One console into the country after the ban on systems like it was lifted in 2013. Neither company or their joint venture was found to have been in breach of major anti-trust laws, although they did fail to meet with officials.
As punishment for not meeting with anti-trust regulators, Microosft and BesTV have been fined 200,000 yuan (£20,700) each.
Although this is a very minor infraction and one that Microsoft will may well have spent more on legal defence for than the actual fine, it may be that it is hit with further suits in the future. As Reuters reports, Microsoft is still under investigation in China for the way it sells Windows and Office software within the country. That investigation is unrelated to the one into Xbox sales, so this recent fine will not have any bearing on its development.
Microsoft was previously hit by a large anti-trust case in the late ’90s in the U.S., charged with creating a monopoly by merging Internet Explorer with Windows. It was eventually settled with Microsoft agreeing to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies.
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KitGuru Says: It may be that Microsoft caught a lucky break here. I wonder how much it spent on lawyers defending itself.