Most Cheetah Mobile Apps Are Now off the Google Play Store
A few days ago, Google banned over 600 apps off the Play Store that were caught violating the company's disruptive ad policy. A significant amount of them was from a developer called Cheetah Mobile. The developer has been caught engaging in shady behavior several times in the past but was let off with a warning in every instance. Now, it appears that Google has bought down the banhammer on Cheetah Mobile.
A quick search on the Play Store for Cheetah Mobile search yields very few results. The company's most popular offerings, such as Clean Master, Cheetah Keyboard, CM Browser, and Security Master, are no longer on the Play Store. Cheetah Mobile's official site now prompts you to download an APK directly instead of redirecting it to the Play Store. You probably shouldn't do that, as there is no telling what is baked into the seemingly innocuous apps.
Banning Cheetah Mobile completely will be quite an endeavor
However, it isn't going to be as easy as banning Cheetah Mobile's most popular offerings. The developer was notorious for buying up smaller apps and repackaging them with annoying ads and IAPs. Currently, there is a vast labyrinth of apps that are directly and indirectly affiliated with the developer. It may take Google some more time to find and ban each and every one.
An even bigger problem here is that Cheetah Mobile can still make its way back to the Play Store under a different garb. Following last year's controversy, the company attempted to rebrand itself as Leopard Mobile (yes it's the actual name). It fooled no one and set a precedent that the company is not above using slimy tactics to weasel their way back into the Play Store. Then again, we can't expect a company that made millions off of fake virus alerts to be very ethical now, can we?
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