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Apple Reportedly Agrees To Preinstall Russian Software On Gadgets


Russian media are reporting that Apple has agreed to sell its gadgets in Russia with preinstalled Russian-made software to comply with a law that comes into force on April 1.

A report by the Vedomosti newspaper on March 16 quoted a source in Russia's Ministry of Digital Development and Communications (Mintsifra) as saying that starting next month, customers with newly bought Apple gadgets will be able to choose from a number of applications approved by the Russian government.

Those applications not chosen will not be installed.

Vedomosti said official representatives of Apple confirmed the decision.

On Android smartphones, meanwhile, there will be no choice and all Russian software and applications will be preinstalled.

The source at the ministry said officials were also in talks with Apple on the possibility of buying Russian-made applications through the Apple Store.

On March 15, the Kommersant newspaper reported that the law was expected to be updated to oblige international companies to preinstall Russian browsers as well on their electronic products.

The list of Russian government-approved programs for mandatory preinstallation on smartphones and tablets includes the search engine Yandex, mail and news, ICQ messenger, social network VKontakte, payment system MirPay, and antivirus Kaspersky Lab, among others.

Computers with Microsoft and smart TVs must also have Russian software and browsers installed.

Separately, Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on March 16 approved in its final reading amendments that provide for fines of up to $2,750 for the sale of smartphones and smart TVs without preinstalled Russian programs.

The amendments enter into force on July 1, 2021.

Russian officials have said that the goal of the move is to support domestic technology and help Russian citizens use the gadgets they buy.

However, Kremlin critics have expressed concerns about possible surveillance through the apps, or that the requirement will be an impediment to international electronic giants working in the Russian market.

With reporting by Vedomosti and Kommersant
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