Russian media are reporting that Apple has agreed to sell its gadgets in Russia with preinstalled Russian-made software to comply with a law that comes into force on April 1.
A report by the Vedomosti newspaper on March 16 cited a source in Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development and Communications (Mintsifra) as saying that starting next month, customers with newly bought Apple gadgets will be able to choose from a number of applications approved by the Russian government. Those applications not chosen will not be installed.
Vedomosti said official representatives of Apple confirmed the decision.
On Android smartphones, meanwhile, there will be no choice and all Russian software and applications will be preinstalled.
The source at the ministry said officials are also in talks with Apple on the possibility of buying Russian-made applications through the Apple Store.
Among other applications, Russia’s Mail.ru e-mail, the Kaspersky Lab antivirus program, the Odnoklassniki and VKontakte social networks, and the MIR payment system, will be preinstalled to the gadgets as of April 1.
On March 15, the Kommersant newspaper reported that the law is expected to be updated to oblige international companies to preinstall Russian browsers as well on their electronic products.
Russian officials have said that the goal of the move is to support domestic technology and help Russian citizens use the gadgets they buy.
However, Kremlin-critics have expressed concerns about possible surveillance through the apps, or that the requirement will be an impediment to international electronic giants working in the Russian market.