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What just happened? Nvidia has joined the slew of western companies ceasing all activities in Russia. The tech giant stopped shipments to the country soon after the invasion of Ukraine eight months ago, but the small Russian presence that remained is now being removed.
Nvidia in a statement said it had continued to maintain its office in Russia after suspending shipments to support employees and their families, but recent developments mean it can no longer operate effectively in the country. "All employees will be given the option of continuing their jobs in other countries," the company said.
Those recent developments Nvidia cites doubtlessly refer to the recent escalation in the Russia/Ukraine war. With the invasion not going the way Putin expected, Russia's president has called for the country's first draft since the second world war, a move that has proved more unpopular than the conflict itself.
Around 300 people worked at Nvidia's Russia office before February's Ukraine invasion. That number has declined over the eight months since then, but team green said it still has around 240 employees in Russia. On September 30, it told staff that the office would shut down due to the "inability to ensure effective work from its employees."
Although it hasn't been officially announced, a source told RT (via Forbes) that Nvidia is now actively taking out on charter planes those who agree to relocate to offices in other countries.
In addition to halting shipments to Russia, US officials instructed Nvidia (and AMD) last month to stop selling their high-performance AI-focused GPUs to the country without a license.
Nvidia isn't the only company to cut all ties with Russia. IBM started laying off its remaining staff in the country in June. It had been paying its Russia-based employees since suspending its business operations, but tightening sanctions on Russian banks were making it more difficult to keep workers on the payroll. A day later, Microsoft laid off over 400 staff from its businesses in Russia, blaming economic conditions.
While Apple has pulled all product sales in Russia, its App Store is still accessible. Cupertino recently removed the country's Facebook rival, VKontakte, from the store globally, which led to Russia demanding an explanation.