Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and other companies have been removing Microsoft's internet calling software from their app stores in recent weeks in response to a crackdown on VoIP apps that don't obey local digital security laws.
A spokesperson for Microsoft, Skype's parent company, confirmed to the Times that the app had been "temporarily removed" from Apple's store, but did not provide comment on Skype's removal from other third-party app stores for Android, Google's mobile operating system.
According to Reuters checks on Wednesday morning, Skype was not available in app stores in China overseen by Apple, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd. Alphabet Inc's Google Play app store is not available in China.
One of the last foreign-run tools for online communication in China appears to be in trouble with authorities there.
Apple has removed Skype from the App Store in China following a request from the Ministry of Public Security ...
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The move is said to have triggered significant complaints from users in China. The proposal to pull the plug on net neutrality is being supported by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and is expected to pass by a 3-to-2 Republican-majority vote. Skype is no longer available from Apple's App Store on the iPhone, and the app is also unavailable from a number of Android app stores. A check shows the app was removed from several popular download sites in the country, as well as the iOS App Store.
Microsoft said in a statement that Skype's removal was temporary and it was working to get it reinstated as soon as possible, without elaborating. While some have voiced concerns about Beijing's steps to stifle internet freedom, companies like Apple have been complicit in advancing the Chinese government's initiatives. As global giants from Alphabet Inc's Google to Facebook Inc explore entry, they have to weigh the benefits of tapping the world's biggest internet market against the fallout from appearing to back a repressive regime. They reported that they started having disturbance with the app in late October. Most outside applications have been banned for sometime, including social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. "We express our opinions about the impacts of laws and regulations forthrightly to policymakers".