Apple and Alphabet, the parent of Google, are reportedly getting asked by Taiwan to pull the apps of Uber Technologies from their app stores.
According to a report by Reuters, which cited a government official, Taiwan’s move is designed to put more pressure on Uber, which is in a dispute with Taiwan. Taiwan claims Uber misrepresents its service because it claims it operates as an internet-based technology platform instead of a transportation company. Taiwan argues Uber has to pay back taxes because it is really a transportation company. Uber, for its part, said it is cooperating with authorities in Taiwan, and it complies with local regulations, reported Reuters.
“Uber has not done what it says it will do. So, we are looking at another way by requesting its apps be removed from Apple and Google [app stores],” Liang Guo-guo, a spokesman for Taiwan’s Directorate General of Highways, which is handling the matter, told Reuters. The government official went on to say the request to Apple and Google would also include removing the UberEATS app, which just went live in Taiwan this week. Reuters noted that it’s not clear if the move on the part of Taiwan would stop the service from operating and from people finding different ways to download the app. Reuters noted it also isn’t clear how Taiwan will handle the app if it has already been downloaded.
Google wouldn’t comment other than to point out its policies for the Google Play app store, which say the company doesn’t allow apps that promote or facilitate illegal activities. The report noted authorities in the Taiwan transport arm of the government have started penalizing UberEATS by slapping motorcycle deliverers with fines. They are also suspending vehicle licenses anywhere from two to six months.