Apple halts ALL sales in Russia over invasion of Ukraine

Apple halts ALL sales in Russia over invasion of Ukraine

March 1, 2022

Apple halts ALL sales in Russia: iPhone maker imposes freelance sanctions on the pariah state in move that Ukraine hopes will anger young people and drive more protests against invasion

  • Apple said on Tuesday it had halted all product sales in Russia
  • Ukrainian officials had asked Tim Cook to pull the plug over Russia’s invasion
  • Apple is the third-largest smartphone seller in Russia with 15% of the market 

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 said in a statement: ‘We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence.’ 

Apple distributes iPhones in Russia through an online store and licensed retailers such as re:Store, like the one seen above in Moscow last week

Apple has paused all product sales in Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Pictured: Apple CEO Tim Cook

‘We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region,’ Apple’s statement added.

The company outlined a number of actions in response to the invasion, including stopping all exports into its sales channels in the country. 

Apple Pay and other services have been limited, the company said. 

The Russian state media, RT News and Sputnik News, are no longer available for download from the Apple Store outside Russia.

On Tuesday, users in Russia were still able to access Apple’s online store but attempts to buy an iPhone showed that they were not available for delivery.

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. 

Customers in a Moscow re:Store shop, an Apple authorized reseller, are seen browsing for iPhones in a 2018 file photo. Apple is the third largest smartphone seller in Russia

New Apple IPhone 13 smartphones are seen on display in the Moscow re:Store shop last year

Nevertheless, Russia accounts for a small but growing segment of Apple revenue.

According to Russian technology news portal TAdviser, Apple’s Russia revenues in 2020 reached 266 billion rubles, or about $2.5 billion — about 1 percent of the company’s annual sales.

Samsung is the top-selling smartphone in Russia, followed by Xiaomi in second place and Apple in third, with 15 percent of the market, according to a research report from Burga. 

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.

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022

An armed man stands by the remains of a Russian military vehicle in Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday

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. 

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. 

Russian assets continued their freefall on Tuesday with the Ishares MSCI Russia ETF dropping 50 percent in the past week and Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, plunging 85 percent since the invasion as investors raced for the exit. 

Russia said on Tuesday it was placing temporary curbs on foreigners seeking to exit Russian assets, attempting to put the brakes on an accelerating investor exodus.  

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