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Asian giant accuses Apple of helping citizens sneak porn in through the backdoor

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is still recovering from a PR disaster regarding poor warranty support in China, whose state-run media pounded the American firm hard with scathing articles.  Now it appears that the Chinese media is yet again whipping the top American firm, this time over allegations by the newspaper The People's Daily that accuse Apple of being among the app store proprietors to be peddling smut to the masses.

Officially, Apple's App Store terms prohibit hardcore pornography.  Late Apple CEO and cofounder Steven P. Jobs even accused his company's chief rival Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android platform of being a "porn phone".  Much like China, Mr. Jobs promised to offer customers "freedom from porn."

However, recently there have been a rash of so-called "softcore" apps, which shown provocative images of scantily clad women.  Other available iOS apps provide image manipulation tools to make female anatomy (obtained from internet images not distributed with the app) animate in a bouncing motion.

While pornography is not explicitly illegal in China, the tightly regulated internet superpower has actively resisted internet pornography from being openly available on its networks.  As a result pornography has not penetrated China's internet as deeply as the American market, although the Chinese often manage to sneak their porn in the backdoor using proxies or other techniques.

iPhone China model
A Chinese model shows off an iPhone. [Image Source: AP]

Unlike the warranties coverage, the indictment on Apple is not a top story, and Apple is only one of several companies to be accused of provoking the problem.  Still the accusation is enough to titillate observers, as a similar 2009 accusation of Google Inc. (GOOG) was followed by a vicious series of hacking attacks on that U.S tech giant.

Citigroup Inc. (C) analyst Glen Yeung has predicted that the previous Chinese warranty scandal could make it hard going for Apple.   He estimates that scandal will cost Apple around $13B USD in sales due to ill-will in the world's largest mobile market.  When it came to the warranties issue, Apple CEO Tim Cook was certainly eager to come to the table with an apology, looking to get China off his company's case.  So far Apple has yet to acknowledge the latest accusation from China.

Sources: People's Daily (Chinese), WSJ





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