Apple May Leave Russia as Moscow Considers Forcing Local Apps on Smartphones

  • Our Bureau
  • 12:30 PM, July 1, 2019
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Apple May Leave Russia as Moscow Considers Forcing Local Apps on Smartphones
Tombstone shaped like a mobile phone in Russia: image for reference only

While China is locked in a trade war with the US over Huawei, another may be brewing between Washington and Moscow in the telecom field.

Smartphones made by international manufacturers such as  Apple, Samsung and Huawei may be forced to pre-install applications made by local vendors if they want to sell in Russia according to a proposal initiated by the Kremlin.

The Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media is reported to be considering mandatory pre-installation of domestic applications on smartphones and tablets sold in Russia. The draft amendments to the law on communications could be published for public discussion soon, Vedomosti news agency reported.

Several rounds of meetings with leading smartphone manufacturers has already take place. At one of the meetings, Apple representatives have warned that the introduction of such rules may force the company to rethink its business in Russia, Vedomosti said quoting unnamed sources.

Russian made apps include maps from Yandex, the social network application VKonakte and antivirus software from Kaspersky Lab. That way many domestic developers will have automatic access to all smartphones and tablets sold in Russia.

In addition, the ministry wants Russian users to be able to delete pre-installed software including that of the phone manufacturer. Deleted pre-installed apps are not to be restored upon re-setting the phone to factory settings.

The US government had earlier forced Kaspersky Labs out of public installations on fears that the app may compromise users’ data.

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