Russia passes law that bans the sale of devices without Russian-made software


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Russia's lower house of parliament has passed new legislation that will supposedly promote local technology innovations and has critics worried that big tech companies will shut down their business in the country as a result.

The new law will come into effect in July 2020, and will make it mandatory for manufacturers of smart devices to pre-install Russian-made software on them before selling them to consumers. Failing to do that will result in fines of up to 200,000 rubles (around $3,125) and repeat offenders will be banned from selling their products in the country.

This will have a great impact on companies like Apple, who are very reluctant to install third-party software services on their devices. To be clear, the new law doesn't mean the company would have to replace its own default apps, but it will be required to also pre-install any alternatives offered by Russian software companies.

Oleg Nikolayev, who is one of the bill's co-authors, says it will help promote local services, who can't compete with Western ones if they're not visible for end users. He notes that pre-installing alternatives on all devices will make it clear to users that they have a choice, whereas leaving them out would give the impression that those provided by the manufacturer are the only ones available.

However, critics argue the bill has the risk of driving away big companies from operating in the Russian market. Apple reportedly told Kommersant that "a mandate to add third-party applications to Apple's ecosystem would be equivalent to jailbreaking. It would pose a security threat, and the company cannot tolerate that kind of risk."

It will be interesting to see Apple's official reaction to the new law. The company is treading lightly as of late to appeal to governments in markets where it has a lot of room for growth. The most recent case is when it removed a Hong Kong protest app to appeal to China's interests.

In any case, Russian pressure on Western tech companies is nothing new. In 2017, Google was forced to allow manufacturers to pre-configure Yandex as the default search engine for Android devices sold in the country.

The new law also raises fears that Russia could be interested in policing what users do on their devices through hidden surveillance tools in pre-installed apps. And this could also tie in with the country's plan to operate its own internet using a law that came into effect earlier this month.

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Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,695   +1,498
Not a surprise. P's approach to 'empire' makes this obvious choice. If tariff war continues, expect similar from China.


Posts: 5,347   +4,692
Russia should ban import of foreign cars, make people drive home-made ones, because they are brilliant.
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Posts: 279   +129
Soooo every phone will come with preinstalled?

Oh wait, I meant OUR phones


Posts: 1,308   +2,243
Bizarre legislation from deluded policy makers. Keep rewinding back the clock to Soviet Union insularity. See how well that serves your economy.

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,981   +6,754
Hard to believe we would do ANY form of purchase or sale to Russia ..... oh wait, I forgot who the president is .... never mind .....


Posts: 411   +255
Russia you're not making sense, no one trusts you. Microsoft is Most Ethical Company In The World. If you want to be loved and respected like Microsoft is loved and respected, do everything the Microsoft Way.??


Posts: 913   +369
Russia you're not making sense, no one trusts you. Microsoft is Most Ethical Company In The World. If you want to be loved and respected like Microsoft is loved and respected, do everything the Microsoft Way.??
CharmsD, you look charming. Oh... damn... what I just said is probably considered a rape by nowadays laws. Okay, awaiting death sentence.
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Posts: 128   +79
It’s sad and dumb.

Dumb because artificial markets don’t work without constant support.

Sad because these people don’t understand what they are doing.
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Posts: 712   +945
TechSpot Elite
Who determines what apps must be pre-installed? I assume there are already tens of thousands of apps written by Russian software developers on the app store, and if there aren't now, there would be soon enough.

Or does this really mean Putin wants to name specific apps that would be installed at his discretion. For which I'm sure he would not be personally getting any kickbacks nor installing any "additional functionality."


Posts: 132   +51
I fully agree with this approach the USA think that everyone else in the world is secured in their hands but you know what we are not and the world is too big... each country should live by it's own rules and beliefs... If they use the pre installed apps to check on us what's with that, who doesn't do that? The privacy era is long time over and the USA is feeling trembled because more and more countries are eating the pie.