Because of security concerns, the Chinese government has banned Apple tablets and laptops from the list of devices its departments can purchase for their employees with public money. According to Bloomberg, government officials familiar with the matter say that ten Apple products, from the iPad and iPad mini to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, were not included in a government procurement list sent out in July.
This isn’t the first time in recent history that U.S. products have been banned from government officials either. Bloomberg notes that government departments were told to stop purchasing antivirus software from Symantec and Kaspersky Lab as well, although both companies claim that the procurement list doesn’t tell the whole story.
“When the government stops the procurement of products, it sends a signal to corporates and semi-government bodies,” said Mark Po, an analyst with UOB Kay Hian Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The Chinese government wants to make sure that overseas companies shouldn’t have too much influence in China.”
As Apple’s growth continues unabated in China, the last thing the Cupertino company needs is scrutiny from the national government. If the Chinese government does make a make a fuss about the potential security risk of owning an Apple device, consumers might begin to rethink that iPhone 6 purchase.
This big loss of business also goes to show why Apple, Google and Microsoft have all been howling at the government to reform the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance practices, as foreign governments are showing a greater reluctance to trust their products’ security after leaker Edward Snowden revealed that they had been compromised by NSA agents.