The Federal anti-monopoly service (FAS) which is Russia’s competition authority said that it would fine US tech giant Apple for violating of Russia’s antitrust laws and abusing its dominant position in the iOS app distribution market. FAS said that the size of the fine would be determined during the course of an administrative investigation and also this fine would be a turnover- based fine against Apple Inc.
Many Russian industry experts have been expecting this ban since long time, especially when Russia has clearly objected to Apple’s ‘foreign influence’ in the Russian market. Additionally, this dispute was simmering and has escalated ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year.
According to the FAS, Apple prohibits iOS app developers from telling clients inside the app about the possibility of paying for purchases outside the App Store or using alternative payment methods. Some experts feel that this is one of the attempts by Russia to hurt Western firms by levying string of fines for violating Russian internet laws and also to exert more control over the online space.
Russia has also demanded western companies to follow local rules such as storing customer data on Russian servers, delete content upon request by Russia’s communications regulator and open local offices in the country.
Ironically, Russia’s decision to fine Apple on antitrust grounds is similar to the European Commission’s high-profile lawsuit against the company for what it has called a “closed ecosystem” that “unfairly shielded” Apple from competition.
Russia is on a spree of collecting financial penalties from western firms with fines in the tens or thousands of dollars. Additionally, Russia also fined Google for $370 million for not removing objectionable content on its search engine this week.