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China's Microsoft probe eyes browser, media player

SHANGHAI -- The head of the Chinese government agency investigating Microsoft for alleged monopoly actions said Tuesday the probe includes the way the U.S. technology giant distributes its media player and browser.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) announced last month that it was investigating Microsoft over its Windows operating system — which is used on the vast majority of computers in China — and the Office suite of programs.

Zhang Mao, head and Communist Party chief of the SAIC, told a news conference in Beijing that Microsoft had failed fully to disclose information about its software.

He added the agency, one of the government bodies which enforces China's anti-monopoly law, was also looking into “issues” with Microsoft's media player and browser, according to a transcript posted online.

Microsoft has previously faced anti-trust investigations in other markets for tying the company's Windows system to its other products.

The European Commission fined it US$731 million in March last year for failing to offer users browser choices beyond its own Internet Explorer.

“Through repeated contact with Microsoft, their top-level executives have shown respect for China's laws, (and) cooperated with China's anti-monopoly investigation,” Zhang said.

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