Apple would need to change its policy soon if it wants to sell its products in Russia. According to a new law passed by the Russian lower house, electronics gadgets must come pre-installed with Russian software. The law will come into effect starting in July 2020.
The law looks to ban smartphones, computers and smart televisions that do not come with this software. So, if Apple doesn’t comply with the rules, Russia would have the full right to ban its products. That means, apart from iPhones, Apple won’t be able to sell MacBooks and Apple Watches.
“When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them. Naturally, when a person sees them, they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose,” co-author of Russia’s legislation, Oleg Nikolayev said.
The Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment (RATEK) mentioned its concerns over the installation of the Russian-made software as some international firms manufacturing these gadgets might leave the Russian market if they don’t want to comply to the law. Other people are concerned that the Russian-made software could be used to spy on users. Critics also fear that the government could also create an internet firewall similar to that in China.
Over the last 5 years, Russia introduced tougher internet laws and one of them includes deleting some results and calling on messaging services to share encryption keys.