Apple's products, particularly the iPhones, are favoured for the simplicity of the iOS, which is completely free from any bloatware. Apple controls the narrative on this front and one of the perks of having an in-house OS production. The only way developers can host apps on an iPhone is by listing them on the App Store and giving users the choice.
In an everything-Apple ecosystem, the Russian government wants to have some local software pre-installed in iPhones and all electronic gadgets sold in the country. In case, the companies fail to comply with the new Russian law, which was passed in the lower house of parliament this month, the sale of such devices will be banned.
The idea behind this new law forcing manufacturers to install Russian software in electronic gadgets is to promote Russian technology and to simplify the use of gadgets for the people of the country.
"When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them. Naturally, when a person sees them... they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose," Oleg Nikolayev, One of the bill's co-authors, told BBC.
The natural resistance
No matter how noble the idea is, such a drastic step is bound to attract resistance. The legislation has already faced a lot of criticism from manufacturers and distributors in the country. But some have raised concerns that the mandated Russian software could be used to spy on users.
For brands like Apple, which focuses on the privacy of its users, this is a serious change. While it may go against its policies to pre-install third-party software on iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, the potential spying threat won't simply be ruled out. It will practically have to be a choice between an iPhone with bloatware or no iPhone at all.
As a result of this, a lot of companies might exit Russia as it won't be possible to install Russian software on some devices, the Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment (RATEK) said.
Time is running out
Although the bill has been passed by the lower parliament, the government is yet to finalize on the list of gadgets that will be affected by the new law. It's not clear if there would be any exceptions, but we'll know more soon as the law is to come into effect in July 2020. It's clear that smartphones, computers and smart TVs are covered in the law.