China gives Microsoft 20 days to play ball in antitrust probe

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China is turning up the heat in its antitrust probe into Microsoft, with the authorities laying down a deadline for Redmond to respond regarding allegations of the software giant unfairly leveraging its products.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has laid down a time limit of 20 days for Microsoft to provide a satisfactory response to the antitrust probe which is focusing on Windows and Office (Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player have also been previously picked out as bones of contention, as well).

Reuters reports that a SAIC statement on its website read: "[A] special investigation team conducted an anti-monopoly investigation inquiry with Microsoft Vice President Chen Shi (David Chen), and required that Microsoft make a written explanation within 20 days".

SAIC believes Microsoft has not fully disclosed all the details it requires concerning the compatibility of its desktop OS and software, an accusation which has been leveled before. SAIC criticized Redmond's lack of transparency just last week.

For its part, Microsoft has responded to say it's serious about addressing these "questions and concerns", and complying with Chinese law. So we guess the Microsoft legal team and others are busy compiling the necessary response as we write.

If SAIC doesn't find this (presumably) detailed response satisfactory, what will happen next is the big question -- as China is shaping to throw off the shackles of Windows, with the government instigating a project to help develop its own home-grown desktop OS. Android is in line for the chop as well, although the timeline for a mobile OS replacement is much further out.

China also previously banned Windows 8 as a security risk.

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