Apple halts ALL sales in Russia: iPhone maker imposes freelance sanctions on the pariah state

Apple halts ALL sales in Russia: iPhone maker imposes freelance sanctions on the pariah state. By Keith Griffith.

Apple has paused all product sales in Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The move comes after Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s digital minister, sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, pleading with him to suspend all sales and services in Russia, including the App Store.

Apple confirmed on Tuesday that it was moving to halt Russian sales, which Fedorov said he hopes will infuriate younger Russians and motivate them to protest against the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. …

Apple’s Russia revenues in 2020 reached 266 billion rubles, or about $2.5 billion — about 1 percent of the company’s annual sales. …

As it happens, Apple CEO Tim Cook is prominently gay and Russia is unfriendly to LGBTQ+.

Government software:

Apple, which already had a somewhat fraught relationship with Russia, does not maintain any physical Apple Stores in the country, distributing iPhones there through an online store and licensed retailers. …

In order to be able to sell iPhones in Russia, Apple reached an agreement with the government there to prompt users to install government-developed software when they first boot up a new device. Apple reluctantly agreed to the deal as a compromise short of the forced installation of government software, according to Computer World.

Other phone makers, including Samsung, did not reach a similar deal, and their devices come with the government-approved software pre-installed.

It was only last month that Apple opened offices in Moscow, a step it took to comply with regulators demands in order to continue offering online services in Russia.

There’s a lot of corporate freelancing going on:

A huge number of companies have cut ties with Russia in recent days, either in compliance with foreign sanctions or as a voluntary step.

Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian banks from their networks, Disney and Warner Bros. are halting theatrical film releases, and oil titans BP and Shell are pulling out as well.

Perhaps the days of conquering countries with armies is drawing to a close. Maybe.