Apple has gained much attention after the controversial removal of the mobile app from the App Store. The Cupertino-based company is now under fire from various sectors, accusing the tech giant of being a follower of the Chinese government.  

Apple’s recent controversy has caught the attention of some U.S. lawmakers. This week, a group of American lawmakers including Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden, and Marco Rubio and House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have teamed up to lead an effort that will urge Apple CEO Tim Cook to restore the HKMap Live app in Apple's App Store. The bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has dropped a letter addressed to Cook. The letter expresses "strong concerns" over the tech giant's recent decision to remove the HKMap.Live app used by many Hong Kong protestors. 

In addition to Apple, the U.S. lawmakers also wrote a letter addressed to Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick. This second letter expressed the "disappointing decision" made by Blizzard involving a Hong Kong-based eSports player, who expressed support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors. 

20170820_March_in_support_of_jailed_Hong_Kong_activists_2 Hong Kong protest Photo: Citobun/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the Cupertino-based company announced that it has started an immediate investigation of the issue after many concerned Hong Kong customers contacted about the HKMap app. Apple’s controversy came amid a furor surrounding the U.S. National Basketball Association after an NBA team expressed support to the pro-democracy protests via Twitter. 

In a recently released statement, Apple explained to the media that the HKMap.Live app has been used to target and ambush police. Criminals also used the HKMap app to attack residents in areas where there is no police presence. However, the app developers have denied the accusation and insisted that there was no evidence of the app being used as a weapon to target the police. Critics also responded to Apple’s recent statement and said that the tech giant acted after intense pressure from the Chinese government. 

Google, one of Apple’s top competitors, has also come under fire regarding its recent action where it removed a Hong Kong role-playing video game from the Google Play Store. The Mountain View-based company has tried to explain its recent action and strongly denied accusations that the video game was removed due to a special request from the Chinese government.

Fortunately, Blizzard, a subsidiary of the Activision Blizzard, has decided to reduce the punishment dealt out to the Hong Kong-based "Hearthstone" eSports player after its decision sparked controversy in the gaming market. The company said that it would suspend the eSports player from joining any eSports tournaments for a year. Additionally, Blizzard will strip him of prize money he earned from eSports tournaments.