It seems that Apple has blocked the sale of apps related to the Dalai Lama in the Chinese version of its vastly successful App Store, apparently becoming the latest in a slew of tech companies to censor content rather than not trade in China.
Apple’s move to censor the Dalai Lama out of the Chinese version of the App Store comes just two months after the iPhone launched in China through China Unicom. Outside China, there is a raft of Dalai Lama applications to be had on Apple’s App Store, most being relatively simple offerings of philosophical advice from the man himself.
The folks over at Yahoo News managed to get in touch with some app developers, who seemed relatively unsurprised by the move. James Sugrue, the man behind the Dalai Lama Quotes app, said of the move, “I didn’t know the app had been pulled, and wasn’t informed. Apple reserve the right to do this sort of thing, and while from a censorship point of view I disagree with this, I can understand why they did.
Naturally, there are apps from one location that won’t be suitable, or even particularly useful outside of their home countries; whether it’s because they’re not applicable outside their original localities or because the content they present is illegal. Still, it’s interesting to see content being censored… it’s hard not to wonder just how, and if, this will effect the already fairly hazardous obstacle course that is the App Store approval process.
It’s an interesting case, and we’d be interested to hear an official response from Apple that went further than the current response, which boils down to, “Apple continues to comply with local laws…” Still, China represents a big enough market that it seems companies are willing to make whatever compromises are necessary to get a slice, and it’s a hard point to argue.