China slaps fine on Microsoft's Chinese JV over Xbox

By Money Times

Sep 29, 2015 10:28 PM EDT

The China's Commerce Ministry has slapped a fine on a joint venture (JV) between Microsoft Corporation and its Chinese partner BesTV in Xbox game console venture for breaking antitrust laws. However, the Redmond-based global IT major has escaped from a major penalty as the investigation didn't find any major fault on the part of Microsoft over market competition rules. The investigation on Xbox marketing drive revealed that Microsoft didn't obstruct the free market competition. The Chinese Commerce Ministry has imposed a penalty of Yuan 200,000 ($31,430) on Microsoft JV firm in China.

The probe was initiated on Microsoft Corporation and its Chinese partner Shanghai Oriental Pearl Media Co Ltd known as BesTV for not reporting to antitrust regulators about surpassing the limit on market share as per the disclosure agreement. 

Microsoft Corporation and BesTV have floated a joint venture firm in 2013 to market Xbox in China. This comes in the wake of lifting the 14-year ban on consoles by the Chinese government. Microsoft was targeting a new generation of family gaming entertainment, technology, devices, content and services in the Chinese market.

Microsoft has been pushing Xbox in the Asian markets. After China, it entered the Indian market. It has launched three Xbox One bundles in the Indian market as a mark of its first anniversary of the console in the country. Forza 6 Limited edition console was first launched. It works on 1 TB hard drive and comes with a wireless controller. 

The second console was FIFA 16 Bundle. The 1TB EA sport FIFA bundle comes with a year's worth of EA access game subscription program. The third console is Xbox One Gears of war. 

The IT global major has been making efforts to make Xbox a great value for its customers. Microsoft has announced that it will announce a new Xbox bundle every day for a week during 28 September to 2 October on its Xbox Wire website. 

As part of this weekly announcement, Microsoft will release five different games packed in the console in addition to Madden NFL 16, racing game Forza Motorsport 6. Microsoft is banking on adding additional new games as bundles are very popular among customers. However, Microsoft didn't give any clue about the type of games that it'll add up. 

The investigation into Xbox marketing measures didn't find any major violation of antitrust rules. It was not related to an ongoing investigation of National Development and Reform Commission into Microsoft's Window operating system and Office software sales methods.

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