iPads and MacBooks can’t be bought with China’s public money over espionage concerns

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First Russian, and now China. Just as news hit us a week ago that the Russian government is demanding access to the source code for Apple software to ensure it isn’t enabling U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on the 145 million country, Bloomberg Wednesday reported that the Chinese government has taken Apple’s iPad tablets and MacBook notebooks off the procurement list.

As a result, no government agency in China is allowed to buy Apple products with public money.

While government purchases are not a major sales driver for Apple, it’s worth remembering that China is home to 1.33 billion people and filing as Apple’s third-biggest market by revenue…

Bloomberg reports:

China’s government excluded Apple Inc. iPads and MacBook laptops from the list of products that can be bought with public money because of security concerns, according to government officials familiar with the matter.

As many as ten different iPad and MacBook models were take off the government’s procurement list, including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Curiously enough, the models were on a June version of the list drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Finance.

China contributed to 16 percent of Apple’s $37.4 billion in revenue last quarter.

China’s state-run broadcaster last month dissed the iPhone as a “national security concern” because the Frequent Locations feature in iOS 7 records time and location for the owner’s movements. Apple‘s official response claims the feature is only used to help users for activities that require navigation.

The iPhone maker is the latest in a string of U.S. technology companies, like Microsoft and antivirus makers Symantec Corp. and Kaspersky Lab, that fell victim of the escalating tensions between the U.S. and China over claims of hacking and cyberspying.

The Windows maker was shut out of a government purchase of energy-efficient computers, too, reads the report.

And over in Russia, the country’s Ministry of Communications and Mass Media wants both Apple and German technology giant SAP to open the source code for their software, citing espionage concerns.

This all comes at an time when some security researchers are accusing the Cupertino firm of allegedly building surveillance backdoors into iOS, which Apple outright denied.

In a statement released to media, Apple stated that it “has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers,” adding that “we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.”