Russia targets Apple and Google in latest anti-Silicon Valley measures



Russian authorities slapped fines on Alphabet’s Apple and Google this week, the Kremlin’s latest crackdown on the US tech giants following its Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service announced on Tuesday that it plans to impose an indefinite fine on Apple for alleged violations of antitrust laws, saying in a statement that Apple was “abusing its dominant position in the app distribution market.” iOS”. according to Reuters.

It comes a day after Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor fined Google $374 million, largely over its refusal to remove content deviating from the Kremlin-approved war narrative on its YouTube platform.

While Apple’s fine isn’t directly related to its wartime actions, it appears to be part of a wider crackdown on the company, as it comes a week after Russian authorities imposed a fine. about $35,000 to Apple for alleged data breaches – the first such penalty ever imposed on Apple in the country. according to the Associated Press.

Apple and Google did not immediately respond to Forbes‘ request for feedback.

Key Context

Russia blocked access to Twitter and Meta’s Instagram and Facebook in March due to US social media platforms designating Russian state media. Google suspended all ad sales in Russia in early March, but continued to operate its free services such as search and YouTube in the country, while Apple paused all sales in Russia at Russian authorities fined Meta $27 million and Google $98 million last December for their respective refusals to remove content from their platforms Russian parliament passed a law in March make it illegal to criticize the invasion of Ukraine or even discuss certain facts about the war, punishable with up to 15 years in prison. The Kremlin has engaged in an ongoing saga with Wikipedia over the San Francisco-based online encyclopedia’s refusal to change its Russian entry of the invasion of Ukraine to comply with Russia’s strict laws on information.

Surprising fact

Google’s Russian subsidiary said in May it plans to file for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account.

What to watch out for

If ever US companies actually pay the fines. Alphabet and Meta paid Russian authorities hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines last year for content violations. But neither commented on whether they planned to pay their multimillion-dollar fines, and Google’s bankruptcy filing indicated it likely had no intention of paying.

Further reading

Google will declare bankruptcy in Russia, according to the Russian authorities seized of a bank account (Forbes)

Putin steps up pressure on enemy of information: Wikipedia (Forbes)

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