For a month, The New York Times reports, Microsoft's Skype has been unavailable to download from app stores in China. The app disappeared from Apple's App Store, as well as a number of third-party Android app stores, according to the report.
In a statement to The New York Times, Apple acknowledged Skype's disappearance from the App Store, noting a conflict with local law brought to the firm's attention by China's Ministry of Public Security. From Apple:
We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.
A Microsoft spokesperson told The New York Times that Skype's removal from Apple's store is temporary, and the company is "working to reinstate the app as soon as possible." Microsoft did not address Skype's disappearance from third-party Android app stores, which many Chinese Android users rely on because many of Google's services are blocked in the country.
Navigating the Chinese government's grip on the internet within the country can be difficult for foreign services, particularly in the realm of messaging. As The New York Times notes, a new law governing cybersecurity that China began implementing in June could have an impact on access to foreign messaging apps like Skype, Signal, and WhatsApp. For now, Skype still works within China, but its removal from Android and iOS App Stores will limit access to it.
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