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Microsoft to Shutter MSN Portal Site in China

Xi JinpingXi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping (front, center) poses with a group of CEOs and other executives at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Wash.Photograph by Ted S. Warren — AP

Microsoft confirmed that it will close down its MSN portal site in China next month but offered no explanation for the move, first reported by Nikkei Asian Review on Monday.

In a statement emailed to Fortune, a Microsoft spokesperson said the site will close June 7 but that the company remains “deeply committed” to China, where it sells Windows 10, Azure cloud services (with local partner 21Vianet), and hosts the company’s largest research and development center outside of the U.S.

Late last year, Microsoft (MSFT) said it is developing a version of Windows 10 specifically for government sector workers, for example. This came two years after Chinese regulators launched an anti-monopoly investigation into Windows’ market dominance. They even banned government purchases of computers running the operating system.

Microsoft Cozies Up to China With Special Version of Windows 10

As that indicates, China is a huge but also hugely problematic market for U.S. tech companies. Six years ago, Google (GOOGL) decided to close its search service there, citing censorship concerns.

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The news portal for entertainment, sports, and finance coverage is coupled with Microsoft Bing search engine and some applications. Users can customize the portal based on their own interests. In short, it’s Microsoft’s version of the Yahoo (YHOO) portal.

The Microsoft Network (MSN) portal-and-apps combo along with a dial-up Internet service of the same name, launched with much hullabaloo back in 1995 alongside Windows 95 desktop operating system.