Russia’s “anti-Apple” law came into force today, meaning that all smartphones, tablets, and computers sold in the country must offer local software and apps as part of the setup process.
Apple reportedly “strongly opposed” the law, and even went so far as to threaten to pull out of the Russian market over it. However, as was the case with a government-created “Do Not Disturb” app in India, it eventually relented.
The Russian bill was introduced in 2019, and passed in 2020. According to a 2020 report by the BBC, one of the bill’s authors, Oleg Nikolayev, said that:
“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.”
Promoting local apps
The apps include the likes of Russia’s Mail.ru e-mail, the Kaspersky Lab antivirus program, the Odnoklassniki and VKontakte social networks, and the MIR payment system.
The new rule is not quite as intrusive as was first reported. Yahoo, for instance, says that the apps are preinstalled on handsets. In fact, as can be seen in the above link, via 9to5Mac, the law is simply an extra screen on the iPhone setup menu.
Along with setting up localization, crash reporting, and the like, there is a note alerting users to the new law. They then get a page which contains a list of Russian apps. Each is accompanied by an App Store shortcut for downloading. However, customers can simply X the list if they wish, without having to install any of the apps in question.
Do you live in Russia? Have you seen this new feature in action? Let us know in the comments below.