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23 Jan, 2024 10:36

Apple pays 1.2bn ruble fine in Russia

The US tech giant was found to have violated local antitrust legislation through its App Store
Apple pays 1.2bn ruble fine in Russia

Apple has paid the Russian government a 1.2 billion ruble ($13.5 million) antitrust fine following a ruling by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) in November, the watchdog said on Monday.

The company has not publicly commented on the payment.   

According to the FAS, Apple violated Russia’s anti-monopoly legislation in July 2022 by banning app developers from informing customers about purchase options outside its App Store. Apple's policies entail use of the company’s own payment system.

The tech giant had previously paid a fine of 906 million rubles ($10.1 million) in Russia as part of a 2020 lawsuit filed by the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab. The company was found guilty of restricting competition in its App Store after it “unfairly” rejected Kaspersky Lab’s parental control program.

In 2022, the FAS made similar rulings in relation to Google, which was also accused of violating antitrust laws with the billing system for its Google Play service. However, the tech giant ultimately adhered to the regulator’s demands and tweaked its policies to be in line with Russian legislation.

Apple joined a string of major Western tech firms that opted either to reduce their exposure to Russia or pull out of the market amid the pressure of international sanctions over the military operation in Ukraine. The company halted sales of its physical products in Russia in 2022, but its App Store and some subscription services still operate.   

In late 2022, the multinational gave up its office in downtown Moscow, though two of its legal entities are still working in the country. The corporation has removed the apps of several Russian media outlets along with sanctioned Russian banks from App Store. 

Also, in 2022, Russia’s Trade Ministry gave permission for Apple products to be brought into the country through parallel import schemes. As a result, consumers in Russia can easily access the latest smartphones, tablets, and laptops imported via third countries such as Türkiye, the UAE, and former Soviet states.

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