“Each country in the world decides their laws and their regulations, and so your choice is: Do you participate? Or do you stand on the sideline and yell at how things should be? You get in the arena, because nothing ever changes from the sideline.” — Apple CEO Tim Cook, 2017
From Andrew Higgins’ “Apple, Bowing to Russian Pressure, Recognizes Crimea Annexation on Map” in Thursday’s New York Times.
Since it grabbed Crimea from Ukraine five years ago, Russia has made no headway in getting the United States or the European Union to recognize the annexed Black Sea peninsula as Russian.
But Russia’s Parliament is now rejoicing at getting at least Apple to fall partly into line. When viewed from inside Russia, Apple apps show Crimea as part of the Russian Federation and separated from Ukraine by an international border.
This means that Apple has joined Google, Yandex and some other technology companies in redrawing Ukraine’s borders to satisfy Moscow’s territorial claims, at least for customers viewing their maps on devices inside Russia. Viewed on devices outside Russia, Crimea remains part of Ukraine…
“Our situation with Apple has now been resolved,” Vasily Piskaryov, the chairman of the security and anticorruption committee of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of Parliament, said on Wednesday. “We see that everything has happened the way we wanted it.”
Ukraine protested Apple’s cave-in to Russia, with its foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, writing on Twitter that the company should “stick to high-tech and entertainment” and stay out of politics. “Global politics is not your strong side,” he said.
My take: The tech megacaps are the new nation states. They draw the borders to serve their needs.