In a move that highlights the country’s worsening economic conditions, Apple has stopped online sales in Russia citing "extreme fluctuations" in the local currency, the ruble.
This is a significant move considering that the company doesn’t have any Apple stores in Russia. Although Apple has tie-ups with some Russian carriers and retailers, Apple's online store remains its main interface with consumers in the country.
“Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” said a company spokesperson. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.”
Apple’s decision to pull the plug on sales comes just weeks after the company increased Russian prices for iPhones by about 25 percent. This resulted in, for example, a 16GB iPhone 6 costing 39,990 rubles, which was equivalent to $859 then, but just $575 now.
That price hike came in the wake of the sharp devaluation of the ruble against the US dollar. Just to give you an idea, Russia’s currency weakened nearly 25 percent against the dollar since September 1, and in the past one year, it has plunged over 50 percent.
Some of the major factors that have attributed to Russia’s freefalling economy include the drop in oil prices, economic sanctions applied by the US and the European Union in the wake of its invasion of Crimea, the dispute over Eastern Ukraine, and others.