Back in 2022, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) in Russia accused Apple of anti-competitive practices when it comes to the iOS App Store. Last year, the regulator decided to fine the U.S. company 1.2 billion rubles (which was $17.4 million at the time), and now the Russian government claims to have finally received the money from Apple.
Apple fined by Russian government
As reported by Russian news agency TASS, Apple is said to have paid the 1.2 billion ruble fine (now worth $13.4 million) to the FAS on January 19, 2024. The report says that the money “was received by the government of the Russian Federation” after the Russian antitrust watchdog ruled that the company had been violating antitrust legislation with the iOS App Store.
According to the FAS, the fine was because “Apple forced Russian developers of iOS apps to use the company’s payment tool in their apps.” The regulator also noted that the App Store guidelines prohibit developers from “informing customers inside the app about the possibility of paying for purchases outside the App Store and using alternative payment methods.”
However, despite having paid the fine, there’s no word on whether Apple has agreed to change the App Store’s business model in Russia to comply with local law. Recently in the U.S., Apple was forced to let developers redirect users to alternative payment methods on the web after the Supreme Court denied the company’s appeal.
Even so, the company will still charge a 27% commission on sales outside the App Store based on an audit of app developers. And soon, Apple will also be forced to allow alternative payment methods and even sideloading for users in the European Union.
Apple’s situation in Russia
Apple’s situation in Russia is somewhat complicated. After the country invaded Ukraine in 2022, the company suspended sales of its products in Russia, while Apple Pay was also shut down in the country because of sanctions imposed by the U.S. government and the European Union.
However, Apple has opted not to suspend its other services in the country – especially the App Store. Although the company has never commented on its decision, it’s likely that it has chosen not to deny Russian citizens access to apps and information. Hardware services are also provided for Russian customers.
Since Apple still operates in Russia despite not selling its latest hardware officially, it’s still subject to penalties for not complying with local law. Interestingly, since the Russian government now allows parallel imports to avoid sanctions, Russians can still find the latest Apple devices in some stores.
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