Apple was forced to remove Skype from the iOS App Store in China to comply with the local laws in the country. The move was confirmed by Microsoft which said that Skype was “temporarily removed” from the App Store.
Apple had removed Skype and many other similar apps from the Chinese App Store over a month ago to comply with local laws. Despite the removal, users who have Skype installed on their device are still able to use it without any issues.
“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,” an Apple spokeswoman said Tuesday in an emailed statement responding to questions about Skype’s disappearance from the app store. “These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”
Microsoft says that it is working to reinstate Skype back to the iOS App Store in China, though it failed to provide a timeframe as to when that would happen. Interestingly, the Skype app is also missing from other popular third-party Android app stores in China. However, Android users always have the option of sideloading the APK after downloading it manually.
Since the beginning of this year, Apple has had to remove a number of apps from the Chinese App Store — including all VPN apps — to comply with local laws. In addition, the local Chinese laws have led to a disruption in service for WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. The Cupertino company is also in the process of opening a data centre in Chian to comply with the local laws. Since the new Chinese local laws have come into effect, the government has cracked down on messaging apps and services featuring end-to-end encryption. It has also removed or banned services that allow users to bypass the Great Firewall.[Via New York Times]