A state-run Chinese newspaper has attempted to name and shame Apple for allegedly spreading smut in the People's Republic.
The Foxconn rebrander appears on a rundown of 198 dodgy and mostly obscure websites accused of breaking obscenity laws that ban the online distribution of XXX material. The list was published today in government organ The People’s Daily.
The fruity firm was warned to tone down its App Store content or face punishment from the courts. Chinese officials have closed down 12 of the listed naughty websites, and 175 were ordered to clean up their act.
"This is another very heavy stick to remind content sellers who the boss is,” David Schlesinger, boss of media analysts Tripod Advisors, told Bloomberg News. “Apple really has to work hard on government relations.”
The Cupertino conservatives are notoriously squeamish when it comes to matters of the flesh: risqué apps for iPhones and iPads are usually shot down by its software store censors. This raises fears that the smut-selling claim is just another flimsy justification for the Chinese government to, er, nail the US corp.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologise publicly after China's state-run media slammed his company's customer service. In the embarrassing comedown, Cook was forced to say that Apple would change its policies towards Chinese buyers, who are worth $23.8 billion to Apple and supply 15 per cent of its total revenue.
Last month, a blogger writing for Xinhua, an officially sanctioned news agency in China, claimed that "more than half" of the best-selling books on the [Apple] App Store contain obscene content. The Chinese government has a blanket ban on online pornography but it tends to target sites that take a pop at its communist rulers.
On Weibo, a Chinese microbloggging site similar to Twitter, Dao-Chu-Pao, joked: “I sincerely ask The People’s Daily to reveal their App Store porn search methods! It’s too hard to find! How did The People’s Daily find it?”
Apple is in no way the first Western firm to suffer a run in with the Chinese government: in 2010, Google upped sticks and moved from the mainland after accusing officials of hacking into its systems.
Apple refused to comment on today's allegations. ®