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Russia Fines Apple $12.1m for Privilege Abuse

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Russia has imposed a $12.1 million fine on Apple for abusing its dominant position in the market by giving preference to its own applications.

The Russian regulator, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, said on Tuesday that “Apple was found to have abused its dominant position in the iOS distribution market through a series of sequential actions which resulted in a competitive advantage for its own products,”

It said that it had hit the company with a fine of more than 906 million rubles ($12.1 million) after ruling in favour of a complaint brought against the US tech giant by cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.

Apple is appealing the ruling and stating that it “respects the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service of Russia, but does not agree with the decision.”

The fine comes after a new law went into effect in Russia earlier this month demanding that smartphones, tablets and computers sold in the country come with pre-installed domestic software and apps.

Popularly known as the “anti-Apple” law, the controversial bill was introduced in an effort to promote Russia’s tech companies but critics say it is the latest attempt to tighten state control over the internet.

It requires all devices with internet access sold in the country, whether they are produced locally or abroad, to be equipped with approved software produced by Russian companies or face fines starting from July.

The list includes programmes made by Kaspersky.

Apple reportedly voiced strong opposition to the legislation and threatened to pull out of the Russian market, but eventually agreed to comply.

Western technology firms have been facing increasing scrutiny in Russia in recent months under the pretext of fighting extremism and protecting minors.

Twitter has been punitively slowed down over a failure to delete content authorities said is illegal, while Google, Facebook, and TikTok have all come under fire.

In 2019, Russia passed legislation on the development of a “sovereign Internet” network that would cut off the country’s access to the World Wide Web, a move critics say is meant to muzzle free speech.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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