Apple's been under pressure to clean up illegal gambling apps from the Chinese App Store, with CCTV reports saying that Apple didn't follow its own rules by allowing the "proliferation of bogus lottery and gambling apps" onto the App Store.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
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 had been removed.
Apple said in a statement:
Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China. 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.
Normally, this kind of activity wouldn't raise many eyebrows. But, much of Apple's manufacturing and assembly work is done in China. China is Apple's second biggest market behind the U.S., and growing. The U.S. has recently sparked a trade war with China. At the best of times, China's view on international companies and the rights to privacy and a free and open internet are hostile.
My take is this: Apple still needs to do a much better job at making sure illegal and scam apps don't get into the App Store, not just in China but everywhere. That way, it never looks like pressure from a government like China is what causes removals — which will always be a worrisome, slippery slope, to observers — but just the proper envorcement of existing rules and policies, for everyone, everywhere.
Let me know your take below.