Microsoft has confirmed that the Chinese authorities have raided some of its premises, although the reason for the raid remains unclear.
The Chinese government has not made an official statement on the Microsoft raids, but Microsoft confirmed them in an email. “We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we’re happy to answer the government’s questions,” it said.
Microsoft could be referring to concerns about the integrity of its hardware and software, but it would not disclose any further details about the raid.
The raids come at a time of tense relations between China and the US, particularly US tech companies. Microsoft has had to deal with its own Chinese controversies and in February it was forced to deny that it was censoring Bing searches on demand.
“China’s position on the issue of network security is consistent and clear,” it said in a statement. “China is a staunch defender of network security. The Chinese government and the army never engaged in any theft of trade secrets by network activity. From the WikiLeaks to the Snowden incident, the US hypocrisy and double standards on the issue of network security has long been obvious.”
We have already seen Cisco seeking to distance itself from suggestions that it installs backdoors in its own exported hardware, and it is possible that Microsoft has faced similar allegations.
Microsoft has also already faced a possible ban of its Windows 8 operating system in China, as part of the backlash against US tech giants.