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Apple loses Russian roulette game against Putin

by on24 January 2024

Will have to help fund Putin's special operation in Ukraine

Fruity cargo-cult Apple has been forced to pay a $13 million Russian fine as President Vladimir Putin tightens his fist on foreign tech firms who are still trying to make money in his country.

The US tech giant handed over the $13.3 million, and according to Reuters, the money went straight into the country's war chest funding Putin’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Financial Times, the fine was slapped on after the regulator ruled that Apple had used its dominant market position to stop developers from telling customers they could pay for in-app purchases outside of Apple's app store.

Like many other Western companies, Apple has mostly given up on Russia since Putin started his attack on Ukraine in February 2022, though it still runs its app store in the country.

The Silicon Valley heavyweight stopped all iPhone sales shortly after Russian tanks crossed the Ukrainian border and has limited its ApplePay service in the country.

Apple and its Big Tech rivals have faced repeated fines and legal action by Russian regulators as Tsar Putin finds himself strapped for cash following sanctions.

Apple previously paid a $12 million fine over similar claims of anticompetitive behaviour in February. Google has received over $400 million worth of penalties for failing to remove what Russia calls "fake" information about the war in Ukraine.

Russia's finances are buckling under the pressure of the ongoing war in Ukraine and crippling sanctions, with the Kremlin reportedly burning through nearly half of its national wealth fund since the invasion began.

Putin has tried to top up stretched defence budgets by cracking down on foreign companies and flogging off their stranded Russian assets, with the Russian government hoping to rake in $1.3 billion from such sales in 2023.

The war has wrecked Russia's once-booming tech sector, with tech workers fleeing the country to dodge conscription and social media giant Yandex NV, once known as "Russia's Google," reportedly planning to sell off most of its Russian business.

Last modified on 24 January 2024
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