Is Microsoft Next in China’s Cross-hairs?

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) might be next in the cross-hairs that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) only recently escaped, as the world’s biggest software maker has been targeted by one of China’s state-owned radio stations over its consumer policies.

In the past couple months, Apple was put in a tight position by China Central Television and China’s The People’s Daily as they criticized the company for supposedly biased consumer support and warranty services. Apple later issued an apology and changed its policies in the country to remedy the situation.

Now, it seems to be Microsoft’s turn. The software giant tried to push its Surface tablets into the Chinese market quickly last year, perhaps hoping to draw in consumers who were tired of waiting for Apple products to launch in China after they launch in the United States, but the tablets have come under fire for their warranties — much like Apple’s iPhones did.

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China National Radio reported that Microsoft’s warranties for the Surface Pro tablet fell short of the nation’s law on warranties for notebook computers. Microsoft has 1-year warranties for whole-device repairs and for main parts, but Chinese law requires 2-year warranties for main parts. Considering that the Surface Pro is a hybrid device, it’s uncertain just which laws should apply, which could put Microsoft in a pinch…

Considering what happened to Apple, Microsoft may be left will little choice but to cave in to the demands of the Chinese media, especially if follow-up reports come from additional media outlets criticizing Microsoft.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), too, had faced criticism from the Chinese government, but rather than cave on the demands, Google withdrew from the country. That may not be a feasible option for Microsoft, as the company has been struggling in recent years with the global decline of PC sales, difficulty spreading Windows 8, and troubles with its own line of tablets.

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The rest of the week could hint at how the situation will progress, as more media from China could target the company, or Microsoft could try to quickly rectify the situation.

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