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Russia fines Apple $12 mn for ‘abusing’ dominant position

russia fines apple 12 mn for abusing dominant position

(FILES) In this file photo a reporter walks by an Apple logo during a media event in San Francisco, California on September 9, 2015. – Apple must pay more than $500 million in damages and interest for 4G patent infringements held by intellectual property company PanOptis, a Texas court has ruled. The US tech giant — now worth almost $2 trillion — will appeal the August 11, 2020 decision, local media said. PanOptis, which specializes in licensing patents, took Apple to court in February last year, claiming it refused to pay for the use of 4G LTE technologies in its smartphones, tablets and watches. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP)

Russia has imposed a $12.1 million fine on Apple for “abusing” its dominant position in the market by giving preference to its own applications, a government regulator said on Tuesday.

“Apple was found to have abused its dominant position in the iOS distribution market through a series of sequential actions which resulted in a competitive advantage for its own products,” the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said in a statement.

It said that it had hit the company with a fine of more than 906 million rubles after ruling in favour of a complaint brought against the US tech giant by cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.

Apple is appealing the ruling and on Tuesday told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that it “respects the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service of Russia, but does not agree with the decision.”

The fine comes after a new law went into effect in Russia earlier this month demanding that smartphones, tablets and computers sold in the country come with pre-installed domestic software and apps.

Dubbed the “anti-Apple” law, the controversial bill was introduced in an effort to promote Russia’s tech companies but critics say it is the latest attempt to tighten state control over the internet.

It requires all devices with internet access sold in the country — whether they are produced locally or abroad — to be equipped with approved software produced by Russian companies or face fines starting in July.

The list includes programmes made by Kaspersky.

Apple reportedly voiced strong opposition to the legislation and threatened to pull out of the Russian market, but eventually agreed to comply.

Russia routinely fines Western tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook, and in recent years it has been tightening control over the internet under the pretext of fighting extremism and protecting minors.

In 2019, it passed a law on the development of “sovereign internet” aimed at isolating the country’s internet from the worldwide web, a move activists say will stifle free speech.

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