Last week saw Apple banning the sale of its products in Russia. The tech brand follows other so-called ‘big tech’ companies who have sought to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The moves have been made after Ukraine made a plea for tech companies to limit their services in Russia. As such, Apple moved swiftly to stop all exports of products like iPhones into its Russian sales channel.
In addition to this, the Apple Pay digital payment service has also been canceled in Russia, while certain apps like Sputnik News and RT New are no longer available for download from the App Store. Such news platforms have become notorious for being little more than propaganda tools for the Kremlin.
However, Apple hasn’t just been pulling some of its products out of Russia. This is because the tech brand has also disabled traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine. The move has been made in an attempt to make life safer for citizens still in the war-stricken country.
Now the pressure will be on other smartphone manufacturers to see if they follow Apple’s lead in pulling out of Russia. While much of the attention will fall on Apple’s big rival, Samsung, it might have the adverse effect of allowing Chinese smartphone makers to move deeper into Russian markets.
While iPhones only account for around 15% of the smartphone market in Russia, it’s a big statement of how US companies might start handling the conflict. The sheer size of Apple means that it shouldn’t suffer too much damage from pulling out of Russia. Plus with the impending sanctions and catastrophic collapse of the Russian rouble, it’s hard to see how much business Apple could do in the nation anyway.
Big tech takes on Russia
Apple is just the latest big tech brand to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. Last week also saw Facebook, TikTok, Microsoft and Google’s YouTube either blocking and seriously restricting access to the RT and Sputnik new platforms in Europe.
Facebook has also made explicit its desire to limit the amount of Russian misinformation about the conflict on its channels. It was revealed that Facebook had already removed a pro-Russia disinformation campaign with 5,000 followers from its network.
However, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has made further calls for US big tech firms to pull out of Russia. Last week saw him urging the Microsoft and Sony consoles to block Russian and Belorussian accounts.
Such moves may be modest in comparison to what would happen should a move be made to ban Russian fuel exports, but they are a further example of how businesses are playing an important role in making life harder for Russia. But whether such moves have the required impact of causing Russia to pull out of its unnecessary war in Ukraine remains to be seen.