Russia has passed a law that bars the sale of certain devices in the country without Russian made software pre-installed. The move, according to the law, is to promote Russian technology.
The law does not bar pre-installation of standard software that ships with every smartphone, however. It only means that OEMs will also have to install Russian made software “alternatives” on top.
The law was passed on Thursday last week(Nov 25th) and will be effective as of July 2020.
One of the bill’s co-authors, Oleg Nikolayev, was quoted saying, “When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them.”
He also explains that the move will ensure that Russian users are aware of the locally made software alternatives.
The new legislation is already being criticized in the country from manufacturers and distributors. Some fear that the law may lead to the exit of international manufacturers like Apple and Samsung. Others have also expressed the fears of the locally made pre-installed software being used to spy on users.
The affected devices include mobiles, desktop and laptop computers, and smart TVs. The government will be publishing the complete list of the gadgets affected by the law.
Apple, in particular, could severely suffer from the new law. This is because the company has a philosophy to install its own iOS operating system and apps regardless of the country they operate in. As a result, Apple will possibly leave Russia altogether since it controls both its hardware and software.
Other smartphone makers like Samsung and Huawei may also have an issue complying with the new law.
It will not the first time the three smartphone companies have lobbied against a law. Earlier this year the three – Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, lobbied against the idea of pre-installing locally-made apps. If the idea would have been documented, the companies could have been forced to pre-install a Russian made search engine, a navigator and a messenger.
When it comes to the internet, Russia is one of the top countries with its strict policies. Earlier this month, the country passed a controversial law that forces local ISPs to create a deep packet inspection of all internet traffic.
That means that government officials have more power to control local internet traffic.