Tech firm says applications will be available for download again

Updated: 2012-02-08 09:13

By Gao Yuan (China Daily)

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Tech firm says applications will be available for download again

A tablet runs a Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd program. The company's applications were removed from Apple Inc's App Store on Saturday after receiving abnormal ratings from users. [Photo / China Daily]

BEIJING - The Chinese Internet security provider Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd said on Tuesday that its products, which were removed from Apple Inc's online store, will be available for downloading again in the next few days.

At least seven of Qihoo 360's applications - including anti-virus software for mobile phones, a product that the company says is used by more than 70 million people in China - were removed from the App Store on Saturday after Apple saw those products had received abnormal ratings from users, the company said, citing an official response from Apple.

Qihoo 360 said it is trying to discover the source of these abnormal ratings and did not directly deny accusations that it was the source.

The company also contested allegations that its products have security flaws, saying they are groundless.

"The applications will be available for download at Apple's App Store in the next 48 to 72 hours," Qihoo 360 said, adding that it does not need to modify the removed applications, also known as apps in the technology sector.

The company also denied accusations that its apps contain programs that can be used to steal users' personal information.

The money spent on advertising apps from Apple's App Store hit a record high in December, said a report released by the Internet research company iResearch Consulting Group on Tuesday. App developers then paid $1.81 on average to obtain a loyal customer, up from $1.33 the month before, according to the report.

Going to the App Store to give apps good ratings is a way to raise the products' ranking in the store's charts. And if not discovered, such actions cost nothing.

On Monday, Apple asked app developers to avoid using services that will raise their products' user ratings.

"Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership," the announcement said.

Previous reports suggested that Apple removed Qihoo 360's apps because those products could be used to hack users' e-mail accounts, passwords and other personal information.

Qihoo 360 alleged Kingsoft Co Ltd, a Chinese anti-virus software developer, for distributing such "slanders" against the company, and said it will sue Kingsoft for libeling its competitor.

Questions to Kingsoft were not answered immediately.

"Chinese Internet security providers should pay more attention to improving data safety rather than getting into spitting contests with each other," said Shen Zhiyong, CEO of Beijing-based Andi Public Relations Consulting.

The stock price for Qihoo 360 slumped by more than 6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange after the company's products were removed from the App Store. The company's price stood at $17.89 at the close of the market on Monday.

Only 5 percent of Qihoo 360 customers use Apple devices. "A greater proportion" of subscribers use phones that run the Android system, developed by Google Inc, or the Symbian system, developed by Nokia Oyj, said Nancy Yang, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co Ltd.

Eight out of nine investment analysts polled by the US financial website CNNMoney recommended buying Qihoo 360's stocks.