Russia has just passed a law banning the sale of technological products without pre-installed Russian apps. Some see it as a measure to limit the weight of US companies, notably Apple, and increased population control.
Is it the end of the iPhone and iPad in Russia? We can legitimately ask ourselves this question after the adoption in the Russian parliament, the Duma, of a particularly restrictive law, particularly for the Cupertino firm.
This law aims to force manufacturers of products such as smartphones, connected TV sets and computers to market their devices with pre-installed Russian software. If many products already have apps installed, for example by local operators as is the case in France, this legislation could lead Apple to review its policy or even to give up selling its terminals in Russia.
Indeed, the Californian company makes it a point of honour to market devices that are completely devoid of third-party applications. If this law, which officially aims to provide Russian companies with legal mechanisms to promote their programs to Russian users, really came into force in July 2020, Apple threatened to leave Russia.
Moreover, these forced pre-installations are not the only issues that worry Apple and other foreign companies. Many observers fear that these apps will serve as backdoors for the Kremlin’s security services and will increasingly control the actions of an already well-locked population.
Apple Sometimes Gives In To Russia
We do not yet know how Apple and the other manufacturers will behave, or even if the law will be properly applied, but there are voices reminding us that the company founded by Steve Jobs has already recently given in to Russian wishes.
At the end of November, it was reported that Crimea – a disputed territory between Russia and Ukraine – now appeared to belong to Russia on the Plan and Weather apps. Since March 2019, the North American giant Google has also been using the same process with Google Maps. Outside the territory of the former Soviet republic, the region then appeared to be disputed between Ukraine and Russia.