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Russian law requires smart devices to come pre-installed with domestic software

Stock MarketsApr 01, 2021 04:15AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A customer tests a smartphone during the launch of the new iPhone XS and XS Max sales at a shop in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Smartphones, computers and other smart devices purchased in Russia must come pre-installed with Russian software after legislation came into force on Thursday, in a move that seeks to help Russian IT firms compete with foreign counterparts.

Moscow is trying to strengthen control of the internet and reduce its dependence on foreign companies and countries. A number of additional proposals are in the works, ranging from compelling foreign firms to open offices on Russian territory, to tax breaks for Russian IT companies.

One potential stumbling block for the law's introduction was the reaction of U.S. tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which dragged its feet before agreeing last month to offer a way for users to install Russian software during iPhone setups.

The legislation has become known colloquially in Russia as 'the law against Apple.'

Apple said it would offer a selection of apps from Russian developers as part of activation screens for new devices. It said it intended to comply with the new Russian law, but noted that all apps are reviewed to ensure they comply with Apple's standards for privacy, security and content.  

Russia's digital ministry has said the law applies to smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, laptops and PCs produced after April 1.

"Russian apps from the pre-installation list should be placed next to other programmes of the same class: both from the same category next to each other on the same screen of the device."

The apps on the list include internet browsers, search engines, maps and navigations providers, and apps for using the payment system Mir, Russia's answer to Visa (NYSE:V) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA), according to a government decree published in November.

Russia's IT industry has the opportunity and potential to become a "locomotive in the process of modernising the country," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said at a meeting with representatives of the IT industry last month.

A second package of more than 60 support measures for the industry is being discussed in government, he added.

Russia's cellphone market is dominated by foreign companies like Apple, Samsung (KS:005930) and Huawei.

Russian IT giants Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX), which dominates in search, and Mail.Ru look best poised to benefit.

Russian law requires smart devices to come pre-installed with domestic software
 

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Comments (3)
Bubba Born
Bubba Born Apr 01, 2021 6:07AM ET
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The Putin "Find Me" app comes as pre-installed bloatware! No way to remove it.
Joel Hauser
Joel Hauser Apr 01, 2021 6:04AM ET
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Every phone company manufacturing Android phones already have all these stupid apps like google search,news,entertainment apps pre built,you cannot uninstall those unless you root it and void warranty.
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Apr 01, 2021 4:20AM ET
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Great idea!
 
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