The folks over at TechWeb noticed something odd yesterday on Apple’s App Store in China: the apps for video streaming site Youku, travel service Ctrip, and map service MapBar had all gone missing. Being very popular apps, this simultaneous disappearance seemed odd, and while TechWeb has heard back from several involved parties, it hasn’t cleared much up. Tech in Asia has confirmed that as of this writing, the Youku and Ctrip apps are also missing from the US App Store and other local app stores worldwide.
Ctrip told TechWeb that the issue was a problem with procedures that was being adjusted, and as of this writing the app appears to be back online. But Youku told TechWeb they were communicating with Apple to figure out what had happened, and as of right now, the Youku app still appears to be missing from the app store. MapBar is also still missing, and while the company hasn’t commented, it’s possible that Apple has removed the app for providing a service similar to its own much-hated Apple Maps. Given the unpopularity of that service and its utter uselessness in Asia, that would be a pretty spiteful move, but until MapBar or Apple make a statement about what has happened here, there’s no way to be sure.
It seems likely that Youku’s app, and probably MapBar’s app too, will be returned before long, and the whole thing may have just been a technical glitch. It’s also worth noting that users with these apps already installed on their phones didn’t experience any interruptions of service, so if the apps return soon, the damage done will be minimal. Still, it has got to hurt to search for your own app and see you competitors pop up in the spot where yours is supposed to be.