Apple’s full statement about Crimea

The company says it is taking a “deeper look” at how its map apps handle disputed borders.

From Trudy Muller, PR Senior Director:

We would like to clarify for our customers around the world that we have not made any changes to Apple Maps regarding Crimea outside of Russia, where a new law went into effect that required us to update the map within Russia. We review international law as well as relevant US and other domestic laws before making a determination in labelling on our Maps and make changes if required by law. We are taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders in our services and may make changes in the future as a result. Our intention is to make sure our customers can enjoy using Maps and other Apple services, everywhere in the world.

My take: Rock and a hard place.

See also: Crimea and the Cook Doctrine

11 Comments

  1. Alessandro Luethi said:

    It‘s remarkable that we have now an app that presents a variable geographic reality depending on user attributes, in this case location. Previously such app behavior was limited to presenting adapted advertising, genre or news “realities”.

    0
    November 30, 2019
  2. Greg Bates said:

    My take: This is reality distortion field 2.0. Apple’s map is fake news in service of the state. The question isn’t how can we “make sure our customers can enjoy using Maps and other Apple services, everywhere in the world.” Rather, it is, does Apple take the side of sales or truth? So far it’s sales. The question increasingly faced by multinational companies is, how far are we willing to go to help countries violate international law, and help powerful people like Trump get away with lies (recall Cook’s acceptance of Trump saying he had opened its factory in Texas).

    These aren’t oddball skirmishes; companies usually take the money, even while they proclaim they “do no evil”. Apple is no exception.

    0
    November 30, 2019
  3. Gregg Thurman said:

    What is the difference between what Apple did re: Crimea, and what Russian map printers would have done vs Ukranian map makers? Absolutely nothing, except that people with no skin in the game will debate the “moral” issues ad finitum.

    There is no “morality” in maps. There is just law of the land, and Apple is following it inside and outside of Russia.

    2
    November 30, 2019
  4. Peter Kropf said:

    Another aspect to this issue.

    If Apple Maps stands it ground and gets banned by Russia, won’t this open an opprtunity for Russia to create or choose its own “Maps” ala the path of TikTok in China?

    1
    November 30, 2019
    • Fred Stein said:

      Thanks Peter – excellent point

      Apple has many obligations, to their own moral compass, to investors, to customers, to all of its suppliers and third party value-add services and apps providers, and most of to employees. Some choices require some trade-off, some compromise.

      0
      December 1, 2019
  5. Adam Foster said:

    Apple maps should present exactly like the map above from the Economist!

    0
    December 1, 2019
  6. Grady Campbell said:

    When I look at Apple Maps at a country-level scale on a Mac in the U.S., I see no boundary marking at all between Crimea and either Ukraine or Russia. If I look at a finer grain where it shows “states” of each country, there is an oddly colored boundary between Crimea and Kherson Obalst of Ukraine (not visible at the country level) and no boundary between Crimea and Krasnodar Krai of Russia. There is a normal state boundary between Crimea and Sevastopol. This seems entirely ambiguous to me, not a clear indication at all of which country Crimea is part of. Is this clearer when others look at it (outside Russia anyway)?

    0
    December 1, 2019
  7. Kirk DeBernardi said:

    I wish I could name the astronaut, but long ago as we decidedly went into space, came forth his altering revelation that — from a map-like distance from Earth — there are no boundaries.

    With our dreams we have traveled far, yet with our societies we remain primal.

    0
    December 1, 2019

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