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29 Nov, 2019 21:05

Tech companies ask Putin to veto new law banning sales of smartphones without Russian software

Tech companies ask Putin to veto new law banning sales of smartphones without Russian software

A major industry body, with Google, Apple and Samsung in its ranks, has written a letter to President Putin, warning that a new law will force major players to reconsider their Russian market strategies, and will harm consumers.

A bill obligating all devices sold in Russia to have local applications pre-installed on them has already passed both chambers of the parliament and is only awaiting a signature from the president to become law.

The initiative has been welcomed by Russian internet giants, such as Yandex, Mail.ru and VK, while foreign companies actively have lobbied against it. Fears were voiced that Apple, which only installs its own iOS operation system and apps on its devices, will be forced to quit the $3 billion Russia market if it’s adopted.

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In the letter, sent to Putin by the RATEK association and seen by several Russian news organizations, tech companies warn that making local software mandatory for all devices “will have a negative impact on our industry; deteriorate the competitive situation in the field of Russian software and lead to its monopolization.”

The authors of the address also insist that the law may lead to “a decrease in business activity in the consumer electronics and software markets.”

Anton Guskov, a representative of the association, told the business daily Kommersant that the legislative move will force major companies to even officially leave the Russian market.

RATEK (Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment) has more than 40 members, which – besides Google, Apple and Samsung – include such companies as Huawei, Dell, IBM and LG, as well as Russia’s biggest consumer electronic retail chains, M.video and Eldorado.

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The MPs behind the legislation had earlier told RT that mandatory Russian-made software will make the gadgets more accessible to local consumers, protect the interests of Russian companies and help prevent any “foul play by large foreign IT corporations.”

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