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Apple halts product sales in Russia

Apple on Tuesday introduced a sweeping set of measures in response to Russia’s escalating war with Ukraine, including pausing product sales in the country and removing Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik News from its App Store.

Why it matters: Apple has taken some of the most aggressive measures in response to the war of any American tech company so far.

Details: In addition to halting product sales, Apple said it stopped all exports into its sales channel in Russia last week.

  • It also disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine “as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.”
  • Apple Pay and other services have also been limited, Apple notes.

What they’re saying: “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 said in a statement.

  • “We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”

Be smart: Removing RT and Sputnik from its App Store is one of the most aggressive efforts to de-platform Russian state media by a Big Tech company so far.

  • Most other tech software companies have blocked Russian state media in the EU, where regulators have demanded they do so, or taken steps to reduce its distribution globally. Most haven’t made it inaccessible globally.
  • Google Maps on Sunday also temporarily disabled live traffic data in Ukraine.
  • Apple has roughly a 15% market share of smartphones in Russia, a country with around 100 million smartphone users.

The big picture: Apple follows a slew of companies that have pulled their commercial operations from Russia over the past few days, citing Russia’s escalating war with Ukraine.

What’s next: In a statement, Apple said it will join all those around the world who are calling for peace.


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