updated 10:45 pm EST, Sun January 15, 2012
Android Market still out in China due to policy
Android Market isn't likely to come to China despite claims to the contrary, a source reportedly outlined Sunday. The tip described talks to Inside Mobile Apps as "exploratory," not a definite plan of action as suggested by the Wall Street Journal. "It's not really happening," according to the claimed insider.
Google's main obstacle was said to be the app approval policy demanded in China. Government officials require that apps pass censorship rules and have either raised prices on other stores or kept them out. Google consciously takes a laissez-faire attitude to approval in Android Market and only takes rogue apps out once they do damage. In China, it would have to actively screen apps, making an exception to the rule.
The search giant is likely to be unwilling to contradict itself after moving search out of the mainland in protest over Gmail hacks traced to a university used by the Chinese government for recruiting hackers. Google might similarly not see as much need to jump in given that numerous third-party stores already exist.
Google hasn't confirmed or denied any details. Staying out, however, still gives Apple a potential advantage for iOS. While Apple may not like the parallels to China, its policy of requiring approval for the App Store both prevents malware and also makes sure apps arrive that follow local laws. The third-party stores running in China still have to obey the rules even if they don't necessarily screen for viruses or fake apps.