Apple Financial News Q3 2017 Transcript: The Financial Conference Call's Opening Statement from Apple's CEO
Tim Cook Answers Questions on AR, Plant Investments & iPhone Delay Rumors while Revealing a new Twist on AI Projects

Apple's CEO Directly clarified why some VPN Apps were removed from the App Store in China



On July 29 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Accused of Bowing to Chinese Government by Shutting Down VPN Service Apps." At the end of that report I noted the following: "Apple's CEO Tim Cook told ABC News last year that the law is the law and that they would comply with the law when necessary. If the Chinese government have a law that must be complied with, Apple will follow the law. So it's an odd slant to say that Apple is 'bowing' to the Chinese Government. They're simply complying with the law of the land." Yesterday during Apple's financial conference call's Q&A segment, Tim Cook was asked about their relationship with the Chinese government and his view of the recent VPN removal situation.


In context with the VPN situation specifically, Cook stated: "let me address that head on. The central government in China back in 2015 started tightening the regulations … say VPN apps. We have a number of those on our Store. Essentially as a requirement for someone to operate a VPN they have to have a license from the government there. Earlier this year they began a renewed effort to enforce that policy and we were required by the government to remove some of the VPN apps from the App Store that don't meet these new regulations.


We understand that those same requirements from other app stores … as we checked through that, that is the case. Today there's actuallly still hundreds of VPN apps on the app store, including hundreds by developers that are outside China. And so there continues to be VPN apps available.


We would rather obviously not remove the apps but we, like we do in other countries, we follow the law wherever we do business. And we strongly believe that participating in markets and bringing benefits to customers is in the best interest of the folks there, and in other countries as well. And so we believe in engaging with governments even when we disagree and in this particular case, now back to commenting on this one, we're hopeful that over time the restrictions that we're seeing are loosened because innovation really requires freedom to collaborate and communicate, and I know that is a major focus there."


From there, Cook drifted a little … okay a lot. Cook added: "And so, that's what we're sort of seeing from that point of view. Some folks have tried to link it to the U.S. situation last year … they're very different. In the case of the U.S., the law in the U.S. supported us … I was very clear. In the case with China, the law is also very clear there and likely would if the U.S. would change the law here, we have to abide by them in both cases. That doesn't mean that we don't state our point of view in the appropriate way. We always do that. And so hopefully that's a little bit probably more than you wanted to know but I wanted to tell you."


Apple's Tim Cook was obviously trying to bring in the case of confronting the FBI, who used an ancient law that Apple openly challenged. So his end point was a little overkill while basically saying that Apple will abide by the law of the land if the law is clear.


The Chinese government clarified their position on the VPN crackdown on Thursday.


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