Will Apple pull out of Russia?

From Josh Nadeau’s “Apple has a Vladimir Putin problem” posted last week by Fast Company:

In November 2019, Russian parliament passed what’s become known as the “law against Apple.” The legislation will require all smartphone devices to preload a host of applications that may provide the Russian government with a glut of information about its citizens, including their location, finances, and private communications.

Apple typically forbids the preloading of third-party apps onto its system’s hardware. But come July 2020, when the law goes into effect, Apple will be forced to quit the country and a market estimated at $3 billion unless it complies. This piece of legislation, along with a controversial law aimed at the construction of a “sovereign internet,” is the latest step in Vladimir Putin’s ongoing encroachment into digital space—and has brought Apple into direct conflict with the autocratic Russian president.

My take: If Apple’s commitment to privacy means anything, Tim Cook will hang tough.

12 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    Very interesting to watch. I don’t see Apple nor Putin backing down.

    What will happen to all the iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple developers already in Russia? No doubt a gray market will grow. How will the Android and Windows ecosystems respond?

    1
    February 1, 2020
    • Steven Noyes said:
      Apple has, at best, an anemic market presence in Russia. It’s not China.

      I could see Apple pulling out of Russia to make a point.

      0
      February 2, 2020
  2. Gianfranco Pedron said:
    “… a host of applications that may provide the Russian government with a glut of information about its citizens, including their location, finances, and private communications.”

    Isn’t that what Google apps and Facebook were designed to do?

    3
    February 1, 2020
    • David Emery said:
      It’s worth considering: Who do you trust less with your data? Google & Facebook, or The Government?

      I definitely trust Google & Facebook much less than The (US) Government.

      2
      February 1, 2020
      • Steven Noyes said:
        Sad, but I agree with you. If I lived in China, Russia or the UAE I would feel differently.

        That said, I fully back the idea all possible data should be E2E encrypted with only the sender and recipient being able to read the data.

        0
        February 2, 2020
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Catalysts for change come from the strangest places.

    Who knows what will happen to Putin’s rule should Apple pull out of Russia? As a very visible repudiation of dictatorial powers and control, Apple withdrawing from Russia could be what is needed to prod the electorate to take their Country back.

    I’m in favor of Apple pulling out of Russia with a clear message that pursuit of profits does not justify coddling up to oppressive dictatorships. Who else on the other side of the planet may hear that veiled threat?

    2
    February 1, 2020
  4. Steven Philips said:
    Greg: They’ll have to pull out. There is no other option.

    David: If the government had access to the same level of information as “we” (not me, I don’t use them.) then I don’t think I would trust them more. Especially now!
    (Political, but I mean it universally, not ‘too’ partisan – but some! )

    0
    February 1, 2020

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