Qihoo 360 shares slipped after it disclosed today that its iOS apps had been removed from the iTunes stores without warning, reports Bloomberg. The Chinese security software maker also received an unfair competition warning from the Chinese government, according to the Beijing Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau’s microblog.
Qihoo CFO Alex Xu told Bloomberg that his company’s apps had been “abruptly removed” from the iTunes store last week for no apparently reason. In separate news, the company was also issued an executive warning that its use of anti-virus software in Internet browsers was considered unfair competition.
Qihoo also told users today that rival Baidu, the Chinese search behemoth, is using a plug-in that can determine whether or not Internet users are on Qihoo’s browser, and display a pop-up window saying that the Qihoo browser is incompatible with Baidu’s system.
Qihoo has accused Baidu of unfair competition since Qihoo launched search engine Qihoo, a direct competitor to Baidu’s flagship product, in August. At that time, Qihoo told the BBC that Baidu, which holds about 80% of the Chinese search market, had been aggressively holding on to its user base and redirecting Qihoo users who searched for Baidu-related services to its own search page.
Baidu has also taken its own shots at Qihoo’s core security software business. In October, Baidu launched its new Baidu PC Faster suite, which serves as a pre-emptive strike against Qihoo’s potential plans to enter the fast-growing Southeast Asian market. And earlier this month, reports surfaced that Baidu is planning to become a strategic investor in security software company Kingsoft, which would make it an even stronger rival against Qihoo’s security business.
Baidu has been emailed for comment.