Apple, complying with what it said was a request from Chinese
authorities, removed news apps created by The New York Times from
its app store in China late last month.
The move limits access to one of the few remaining channels for
readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to
special software. The government began blocking The Times’s
websites in 2012, after a series of articles on the wealth amassed
by the family of Wen Jiabao, who was then prime minister, but it
had struggled in recent months to prevent readers from using the
Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps
from the app store in China on Dec. 23. Apps from other
international publications, including The Financial Times and The
Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store.
“For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted
to display content to most users in China and we have been
informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred
Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “As a result,
the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this
situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New
York Times app for download in China.”
The Times’s headline reads “Apple Removes New York Times Apps From Its Store in China”. I think a more accurate headline would be something along the lines of “China Compels Apple to Remove New York Times Apps From Its Store in China”. I don’t think Apple had any choice here, other than pulling out of China.
And given that The Times’s website has been blocked in China since 2012, the closed, proprietary App Store has given Chinese readers four years of access to The Times that they couldn’t get over the open web. China’s authoritarian regime is the problem here, not Apple.