Apple pulls 25,000 apps to placate China

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If China has gambling problem, Apple has a gambling problem.

 

From Monday’s Wall Street Journal ($):

Under fire from Chinese state media, Apple Inc. said it removed illegal gambling apps from its App Store in China—a move that could help quell the latest challenge for the American tech giant in its most important market outside of the U.S.

“Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,” Apple said in a statement Monday. “We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store.”

Apple had been criticized by Chinese news outlets for not doing enough to filter banned content and applications. State broadcaster CCTV, which last month reported that Apple’s app store allowed illegal gambling apps disguised as official lottery apps, said Sunday that 25,000 apps have been removed.

Apple offers more than 1.8 million apps in China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Apple didn’t confirm the number of apps it took down or when it had removed them, but 25,000 would amount to about 1.4% of that total.

Apple occasionally cleans up its App Store in the U.S. as well, removing outdated or spam apps. In China, Apple said it removed nearly 700 virtual private networks, or VPN, apps from its App Store last year in response to new local restrictions. VPN is used by individuals and companies to send secure emails, transmit data and access websites blocked in China.

My take: Keeping the silk road open in the midst of a trade war can’t be easy.