Apple Inc said on Tuesday it has removed several apps including Skype, Microsoft Corp's internet phone call and messaging service, from its app store in China after the country's government pointed to violations of local laws. The New York Times reports that Skype has been removed due to local laws that apply to VoIP services in China. "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business". For now, Skype still works within China, but its removal from Android and iOS App Stores will limit access to it.
Users reportedly complained on Chinese internet messaging boards after not being able to pay for Skype's ervices in late October.
It's not clear which law Skype is breaking. However, Skype's disappearance from the app stores seems to have taken place after that event. Other services like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter are all blocked by Chinese government filters. Implemented in June, the new law cracks down hard on communications tools that the local government can not control, even though it doesn't explicitly ban foreign messaging apps. One of the most recent and somewhat peculiar restrictions shut down LTE service for new Apple Watch Series 3 devices in China, as the government doesn't now have a plan to regulate or control eSIM use. Apple also removed Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), software vital for Chinese users eager to slip past "the Great Firewall of China", from its app store this year, again giving in to Chinese government demands.