Apple agreed to comply with the provisions of the law on the mandatory pre-installation of Russian software on gadgets – from April 1, devices, when activated in the Russian Federation, will offer domestic applications. It was possible to agree on this during negotiations with the leadership of the Ministry of Digital Affairs of the Russian Federation
A high-ranking source in the Ministry of Digital Industry told Vedomosti about reaching an agreement with Apple. The agreements stipulate that when you first turn on an Apple device purchased in Russia, during setup, the user will see a dialog box in which he will be prompted to install applications from the list approved by the government by default, the source told Vedomosti. It will be possible to refuse the installation by unchecking the boxes in front of certain applications, explains the source of the publication.
The Apple office confirmed this information.
From April 1, through the screens for activating new devices, users will be offered a choice of applications from Russian developers, which they can choose for further installation on their iPhone or iPad, Apple told Vedomosti, stressing that the company complies with the laws of the countries in which it operates. For more than 10 years, Apple’s app store has established itself as a safe and reliable place to find and download apps – as part of the experience that the company provides to customers, all apps are checked for compliance with privacy, security and content standards, the company stressed.
According to a Vedomosti source in the Ministry of Digital Science, the issue of creating a selection of promising Russian applications in the App Store is currently being discussed with Apple: “The Ministry is not at all interested in the dominant position of popular programs included in the list for mandatory preinstallation. If alternative offers that are interesting to users and are rapidly gaining popularity appear on the market, they will be included in this selection and will also be offered for pre-installation. “
Amendments to the law “On protection of consumer rights” (the so-called law on mandatory preinstallation of software) were adopted in 2019. According to the bylaws to it, Russian software must be installed on all smartphones, tablets, laptop and stationary computers, as well as smart TVs that will sold in Russia from April 1, 2021
Among these applications are browsers, antivirus and mapping software, instant messengers, mail agents and agents of online cinemas, the application of the State Services service, the application of the Mir Pay payment system, and much more. The number of required programs varies depending on the type of device (most of them are on Android smartphones – 16 titles). The mandatory list approved by the government earlier this year includes products from Yandex, Mail.ru Group, Kaspersky Lab, Rostelecom, Channel One and other major Russian Internet and media companies.
The adoption of the preinstallation law could lead to Apple leaving the Russian market, the manufacturer’s partners and analysts have repeatedly warned. In February 2019, when the pre-installation law was not passed and officials were discussing with the business, at one of the closed meetings an Apple representative said that the adoption of the law could lead to a revision of the company’s business model in Russia. In fact, we are talking about leaving the Russian market, people familiar with Apple managers explained this hint. Apple’s corporate policy does not, in principle, imply the practice of pre-installing third-party software on iPhones and other gadgets, they noted. Officials of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, which was then headed by Konstantin Noskov, also spoke about the possibility of Apple leaving Russia.
Apple very carefully checks all applications that are offered in the App Store, and does not allow those that may work incorrectly or create problems for users there, one of the participants in the mobile applications market explained to Vedomosti earlier. In a situation where the preinstallation becomes mandatory, the company will not be able to affect the operation of the application (for example, to delete it), he said.
According to the company, Apple’s revenue for the 2019 calendar year was $ 267.7 billion, while revenues in Russia reached 189.5 billion rubles. (according to the average exchange rate of the Central Bank for the year before last, it is about $ 2.9 billion).
“For Apple, Russia is a relatively small but steadily growing market. Here the company has a large loyal audience of both products and ecosystem services, ”said Denis Kuskov, CEO of Telecom Daily. In his opinion, having weighed all the pros and cons, the corporation decided that it is still preferable to comply with the requirements of Russian legislation than to leave the market: “Moreover, we are talking about some kind of compromise – the user can still choose, what to install and what not. The letter of the law is also respected – it requires the creation of conditions for the pre-installation of Russian software, and what Apple is going to do is fully consistent with this wording. “
According to the company – a partner of several electronics manufacturers, in January 2021 Apple took the 3rd place in Russia (16% of the market) in terms of sales of smartphones in units. In monetary terms, its share was 45% (1st place).
Other manufacturers, in particular those using the Android operating system from Google in their smartphones, do not consider legislative changes to be a problem. For example, Huawei has been pre-installing Russian applications on its smartphones for a long time, and even in larger quantities than the regulatory framework provides. For example, on a completely new device Huawei P40 Pro, the Vedomosti correspondent found software for Gosuslug, Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte, the mail agent Mail.ru, the application of VTB Bank, Megafon, Tele2, Yandex.Dzen and much more.
In general, the situation in which Apple follows the requirements of national regulators is not frequent, but also not precedent, notes a person familiar with the managers of several partner companies of electronics manufacturers: “For example, in the UAE, until 2018, the use of the Facetime service was limited. Accordingly, when the iPhone was activated in this country, it was impossible to connect the service ”.