Apple to pre-install Russian apps on iPhone from April
Newly activated Apple devices will offer domestic applications in Russia from 1 April, says Gizchina citing the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media. The multinational corporation agreed to comply with the provisions of the law on the mandatory pre-installation of Russian software on its gadgets. The ministry and Apple are currently discussing the issue of adding a number of Russian applications to the App Store, the company's digital distribution platform. Besides mandatory apps, other applications that are of interest to users and quickly become popular may be also included in this list.
According to Apple’s representative, installing an application will not be mandatory. Users will have to select an app from the list and click to agree or refuse to install it. For more than ten years, all applications in the App Store have been checked for compliance with privacy, security and content standards, points out the company adding that the platform has been very safe and reliable.
The law that requires electronic products to come pre-installed with applications developed by Russian companies was passed in 2019. However, it has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Some other smartphone manufacturers have already pre-installed local applications in Russia, for example, Huawei, which uses Google’s Android operating system.
Meanwhile, Apple’s representative stated at the time that the requirement might lead to a change in the company’s business model in Russia. Some experts regarded this as a warning about Apple’s possible withdrawal from the Russian market, as the company’s policy didn’t provide for pre-installed third-party software.
CEO of Telecom Daily information and analytical agency Denis Kuskov considers that the Russian market for Apple is small but steadily growing with local users having a high degree of loyalty to Apple devices. Thus, the company made a compromise to stay in the market. In 2019, Apple’s revenue in Russia amounted to 189,5 billion rubles (about $2,9 billion), while its global revenue totalled $267,7 billion. In January 2021, the company ranked third in terms of smartphone sales in Russia.