Anger is growing in China over Apple’s treatment of developers, with a second group of app designers filing a legal complaint against the iPhone maker.
“Apple used to have a good reputation,” said Chen Wen, a dating-app developer based in Chengdu, western China. “But their recent behaviour, such as unequal treatment of Chinese developers, has left many unsatisfied.”
Apple started a worldwide crackdown on what it saw as illegitimate apps earlier this year, removing more than 1m Chinese apps from the company’s App Store in the year to date, according to the tech research firm ASO 100.
技术研究公司ASO 100的数据显示，今年早些时候，苹果开始在全球范围打击其认为不合法的应用，今年迄今为止，苹果已从其应用商店(App Store)下架逾100万个中国应用。
Apple routinely launches mass clean-ups of its App Store, and it is not unusual for the group to delete tens of thousands of programs at one time. However, it has cut almost 200,000 more Chinese apps than those from the US so far this year.
Apple declined to comment on the specific volume of its app deletions in China. ASO 100 says its data are compiled in partnership with Apple.
Last month, a Beijing-based law firm, Dare & Sure, filed the first Chinese antitrust case against Apple on behalf of 28 developers. Their case has now expanded to cover more than 50 developers. Now a second law firm in Chengdu, western China is alleging similar mistreatment on behalf of 23 more developers.
上月，北京达晓律师事务所(Dare & Sure)代表28家应用程序开发商对苹果发起了反垄断举报，这在国内尚属首次。目前，参与举报的开发商已经扩大到逾50家。现在，成都的另一家律师事务所代表另外23家开发商发起类似举报，指控苹果的不公正待遇。
“Our common goal in initiating this collective action is to fight for fair business relationships for China’s developers,” wrote Sichuan Fa Ye Law Firm in a regulatory complaint filed last week to China’s commercial and economic regulators.
Apple referred back to the company’s comment on the original complaint: “The App Store has published guidelines that apply equally to all developers in every country where we operate, and we comply with local laws and regulations,” Apple said, adding that it worked hard to ensure its developers were successful.
苹果公司再一次摆出其在最初遭举报时的回应：“在每一个App Store参与运营的国家或地区，App Store发布的指南对所有开发者一视同仁，并且我们遵守当地的法律法规。”苹果还补充道，苹果竭力帮助开发者在 应用商店获得成功。
China is the most important market for Apple’s App Store in terms of revenue, according to market research firm IDC.
Both Beijing-based Dare & Sure and Chengdu-based Sichuan Fa Ye Law Firm alleged Apple was abusing its control of the iOS App Store, the only official source of app downloads for iPhones, by removing apps without good reason. Developers in China said they often did not receive warning before the deletions happened, and could not get a helpful response from the company explaining the decision.
“When companies that are important to Apple allege that certain apps infringe their rights and should be taken down, Apple will do so with very little evidence or even no evidence,” wrote law firm Dare & Sure.
“Some Apple developers have a monopoly on power and can do whatever they like, they can get any app taken down if they want to,” said Gu Cheng, a freelance developer.
Many developers said apps that may seem like copies of others would often be for different audiences or regions, and that they did not understand how Apple decided which apps were the originals.