Apple kicks China's most popular browser out of iTunes
Bans Qihoo apps from its store ...
Qihoo, maker of the most popular web browser in China, has had all of its products kicked out of iTunes, though it's far from clear which breach of the rules is responsible.
The company's web browser, security suite and instant-messaging client have all disappeared from the Chinese iTunes store, leaving the company with with no presence on iOS at all, and struggling to get information about which of Apple's rules it might have breached. But given the tactics previously employed by Qihoo there's not shortage of possiblities.
Earlier this year Qihoo proudly announced that its "360 Safe Browser" was outranking Microsoft's Internet Explorer in China, despite being on the market for only three years and coming from a company whose previous experience was in anti-virus software, but many allege that the market share had been achieved using tactics which would embarrass Google and make Phorm look positively benign.
Qihoo used to sell anti-virus software, but has embraced online advertising with all the enthusiasm of the newly converted. In 2008 it started giving away its anti-virus software solely to promote the newly-launched browser, which is also free but comes with a home page on which the company sells advertising. Those ads brought in $35.1m in the last three months of 2011 alone – but it is the tactics used to promote the browser which have attracted such attention.
Qihoo's free anti-virus package, for example, will pop up every time a user clicks on any URL outside the browser, reminding them that by not using the company's "360" browser they are putting their safety at risk. The software also appends the same information to security alerts from IE, reminding the user how much safer they'd be if only they'd eschew Microsoft's web-browsing technology.
Once installed, the Qihoo browser will live alongside alternatives, but it won't allow them to become the default browser, and getting rid of 360 presents a formidable challenge – click "Change to IE9" and the 360 browser will reinstall itself and reaffirm its default position. Even if the browser is removed entirely, many users report that their internet access never works properly again.
Last year the company's CEO was explicit enough to make Amazon blush:
We have exploited our big share in the browser market by inserting an intelligent tracking program into our browsers that can track the habits and hobbies of each individual user, and then re-route links that suit the user’s interest to the home page of the browser. That will increase the effectiveness of our advertisements.
No wonder Facebook is nervous about entering the Chinese market.
We don’t know what Qihoo has done to upset Apple exactly, though there seem plenty of options. The company's iOS products are still available from its own website – for jailbroken iPhones – but that's common in China where the iPhone arrived long before iTunes. However, it is in breach of Apple's T&Cs, so this could provide an excuse for kicking out a company which Apple just didn't want involved with its flagship product.
Qihoo told the Penn Olson blog that it is waiting to hear from Apple, but Cupertino always reserves the right to refuse an explanation, even to the maker of the most-popular browser in China. ®
Perhaps Apple is right to do this.
From reading the article about that particular chinese product. It behaves quite a lot like malware. Has anyone ever thought that Apple is doing the right thing to ban this kind of malware onto ppl's iOS devices? From what's written here I definitely wouldn't want those kind of chinese crap on my +700 euro cellphone.
In fact isn't it about time we leave the chinese to to their own stuff. If they want to use spyware as their 'most popular browser' then let them but keep that crap out of here.
SO I'd say. Good job Apple. At least someone is monitor the software on their market.
360 is no better than malware
For example. It ACTIVELY stopped from trying to remove infected files from my wifes PC, and blocked MALWAREBYTES, TREND HOUSECALL and SPYBOT from working correctly.
There is NO option to unintall it.
It INSTALLED itself without consent after downloading a product by another author to which the 360 loader file had been attached.
It cannot be removed except in SAFE MODE.
MANUALLY uninstalling in SAFE MODE it worked only until reboot, when secret back ups repaired the install.
Making a note of those back ups and also deleting them prompted a SECOND set of secret back ups to download and install it from fresh.
HIJACKTHIS detected a secret data stream located on a second hard drive containing more mysterious files, deleting this finally stopped it from reloading, but I suspect only a full format will ever restore the system to a full functionality.
So you can treat them how you like, with no legal come-back?