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Apple, Google, Facebook move aside: State Duma mulls making Russian-made software mandatory for mobile devices

Apple, Google, Facebook move aside: State Duma mulls making Russian-made software mandatory for mobile devices
A bill obligating all devices in Russia to have local software pre-installed on them is being considered by the Parliament. If it becomes law, there are fears that Apple could leave the $3 billion market altogether.

The legislation, which passed the first reading by the MPs on Tuesday, stipulates that any smartphone, computer or smart TV sold in Russia must have Russian applications by default on it. Such software, it claims, is friendlier and more attractive for Russian users than Western counterparts.

Experts warned earlier that Apple may be forced to abandon the Russian market if such legislation is adopted. The US company’s philosophy is to only install its own iOS operation system and apps on its devices, no matter the country where it operates. It won’t be a problem for devices running on Android, though, as the platform was always friendly to software from other developers.

The proposed law also imposes hefty fines on sellers or manufacturers who fail to comply. The government will have to define which devices and software will be covered by the bill which the lawmakers say will “protect interests of Russian internet companies” and help overcome “foul play by large foreign IT corporations.”

“When you buy an Android or iOS-powered smartphone, you see apps designed by those companies but not the Russian ones,” Oleg Nikolaev, a Fair Russia MP and one of the bill’s authors, explained to RT. “Now, the legislation says there must be icons of apps designed domestically.”

Alexander Yushchenko from the Communist Party added that foreign corporations may be willing to abide by the new rules because they can’t afford to lose the Russian market. To become law, the bill has to pass through the upper house and then be signed by the president.

It’s not the first time such a proposal has been in the spotlight. Earlier this year, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service floated the idea of having Russian apps – a search engine, a navigator and a messenger – added to foreign-made devices.

The measure was rebuked by Apple, Samsung, and Huawei which actively lobbied against it. Russian internet giants such as Yandex, Mail.ru, and VKontakte were in favor of it.

Also on rt.com Russia bans military from using smartphones

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