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Chinese Censors Kick Skype out off App Stores For “Failing to Comply with Local Law”

Skype has been removed from app stores following a crackdown on foreign apps. Paying subscribers have been unable to download it to access the service.


is one of the biggest online communications tools in the world, but for over a month it's been missing in . According to The New York Times, it's not longer available on both and third-party Android .

Chinese users are now without the service despite paying subscription fees. In an emailed statement, Apple pointed to the violation of local law as a reason.

“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,” said a spokeswoman. “These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”

The move follows a general crackdown under President Xi Jinping, with several other apps also biting the bullet. In autumn, WhatsApp was blocked in the country, and Facebook, Gmail, Snapchat, and Twitter are also unusable.

It's thought the use of encryption is behind the bans, as they make it difficult for the government to monitor. Other violations include the ability to use fake names on the services.

Skype's Return

The major question is whether Skype will make it back to the stores. The app still appears to be functioning in the country, it just isn't available. Previously, has worked with China to provide bespoke versions of , so its possible it will make adjustments.

For now, we simply have a vague statement. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company is “working to reinstate the app as soon as possible”, and suggested the removal was temporary.

However, China's recent laws are very open to interpretation.

“A broad reading of provisions in the law could be taken to mean that there is no longer support for allowing unfettered access to foreign communications tools such as Skype, WhatsApp, Signal and others that are outside the direct control of Chinese authorities,” said Paul Triolo, head of global technology at Eurasia Group, a political consultancy.

It's possible the removal isn't as temporary as Microsoft suggests.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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