Chinese authorities force Apple to pull Skype from App Store

Skype is the latest app to run into problems in China.

The country’s Ministry of Public Security may be looking to ban Microsoft’s VoIP and messaging app and has now forced Apple to remove it from its App Store in the country.

A report Tuesday from The New York Times added that Microsoft’s messaging service has also disappeared from a number of sites in the 1.33 billion people country.

“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,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “Therefore, these apps have been removed from App Store in China.”

Microsoft said it was working to reinstate the Skype app “as soon as possible.”

The paper notes that Skype’s removal from app stores is the most recent example of “a decades-long push by China’s government to control and monitor the flow of information online.” The government typically blocks any apps and services that use end-to-end encryption or don’t comply with its rules on identifying accounts by the full names of their users.

Skype has not yet been outright banned—it currently continues to operate in the country—but it’s unclear for how long. The government’s Great Firewall of China previously blocked or limited access to a number of messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram, as well as to other popular services such as Gmail and Twitter.

Chinese officials in the past forced Apple to run network safety evaluations on all products before they could be imported into the country, blocked sales of the LTE-outfitted Apple Watch Series 3 models over security concerns and demanded that Apple shut down the iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services in the country.