Apple, which is used to having its reality distortion field decide many basic questions, might have bitten off more than it could chew when its Google Maps recognised President Putin’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula as part of Russia in its Maps and Weather apps for Russian users.
Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said that Apple has not made any changes to its maps outside of Russia and made the change for Russian users because of a new law that went into effect in that country.
“We review international law as well as relevant US and other domestic laws before making a determination in labelling on our Maps and make changes if required by law. We are taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders in our services and may make changes in the future as a result”, Muller said.
Russia and Ukraine have both been extremely sensitive to the way global companies identify Crimea, since Russian troops seized the territory and Moscow annexed it in March 2014 after a referendum that Kiev and its Western allies say was illegal.
Reporters in Moscow who typed the name of the Crimean provincial capital Simferopol into Apple’s Maps and Weather apps on Wednesday saw it displayed as “Simferopol, Crimea, Russia”. Users elsewhere — including in Ukraine’s capital Kiev and in Crimea itself — see locations in Crimea displayed without specifying which country they belong to.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that Apple did not “give a damn” about the country’s pain, which is true. Although to be fair anyone who trusts Apple Maps to tell them anything about the universe is probably headed for a big pile of pain anyway.