Skype Disappears From App Stores in China

Skype, the internet phone and video service owned by Microsoft Corp., has vanished from a number of smartphone app stores in China, including that of Apple Inc.

The app isn’t available in the Chinese language app store for Apple Inc. and Xiaomi Corp., a local phonemaker that uses the Android operating system. The service still appears to work inside the mainland.

The Ministry of Public Security notified Apple that a number of voice-over-internet-protocol apps don’t comply with local law and the apps have been removed from the China store, a spokeswoman for the iPhone maker said. The apps are available in other markets.

China has been cracking down on message services as the Communist Party tightens its controls over communications in the country. WhatsApp has had its encrypted service periodically blocked in China while the website of its owner Facebook Inc. isn’t accessible in the country. Twitter and Google are also banned from the country.

“The iOS version of Skype has been temporarily removed from the app store in China. We are working to reinstate the app as soon as possible,” Microsoft said in a statement. The New York Times reported the disappearance of the apps earlier.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg