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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, December 17, 2017


Skype removed from Apple, Android app stores in China

Skype calls and messages began in October this year

Share on Facebook November 23, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 402


BEIJING, China - Citing non-compliance of local law, Skype, and several other apps were reportedly removed from the Apple and Android app stores in China.

In a statement, Apple said that Skype's call and messaging service was one of the several apps to have been removed after the government said it does not comply with local law.

Further, Skype owner Microsoft said that the app had been "temporarily removed" and that the company was "working to reinstate the app as soon as possible.”

As of Wednesday morning, the app was no longer available for download on Android app stores in China too.

According to local media reports, the disruption in Skype calls and messages began in October this year.

In its statement, Apple said, “We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China."

A Microsoft spokesperson meanwhile said, "The iOS version of Skype has been temporarily removed from the app store in China... we're passionate about the benefit that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration."

So far, the company has not officially stated when its Skype app was first removed, or the situation with Android.

In recent months, the tech giant has faced harsh criticism for withdrawing products from its Chinese App Store.

Earlier in July, creators disapproved when the tech giant removed over 60 virtual private networks (VPNs) which circumvent China's internet firewall.

At the time, the official statement noted that the VPNs were removed because it was "legally required to remove them" under Chinese regulations.

So far this year, Apple has stated that it removed 674 VPN apps following a request by the Chinese government.

The firm said in a letter to two U.S. Senators that it had been "ordered" to remove specific VPN apps even though it "questioned the legal basis of the request.”

The tech giant argued that it was told the VPN operators had violated Chinese cybersecurity laws.

The recent changes in the internet laws in China are said to be part of the country’s efforts to control public opinion and eliminate anti-government sentiment on the internet in China.

The reforms have however raised concerns from foreign companies trying to expand their user base in China.

Apart from Microsoft’s Skype, other foreign-owned digital and internet platforms, including Alphabet's Google, Facebook and Twitter are already unavailable to Chinese users due to Beijing’s sweeping internet clampdown.

Under Xi Jinping, the Communist Party has tightened controls over online content and taken aim at messaging services, in particular, now requiring users to register their real names and threatening action against people who disseminate content deemed to threaten social stability. 


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