Apple today joined the list of tech companies that have responded to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. In its most significant move yet, the company paused sales of its entire product line up in Russia with immediate effect, Bloomberg reports. The decision has resulted in the cessation of sales being made via Apple’s online store for Russia. People attempting to buy an Apple product via the Russian Apple Store are now welcomed with a ‘Delivery Unavailable’ message, MacRumors reports.
Apple also issued a statement confirming the developments and added that it has already stopped the exports of its products to Russia effective last week. In addition, several of Apple’s services — including Apple Pay — have been severely restricted in the country. Apple has also removed RT News and Sputnik News apps from all App stores outside Russia. The company has also disabled live traffic data and live incidents in Ukraine as a precautionary measure.
"We have paused all product sales in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia." https://t.co/zVh60Pls6N
— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) March 1, 2022
Because Apple does not operate its signature brick-and-mortar stores in the country, it remains unclear if offline sales of Apple products in Russia will be affected by this move. Apple’s offline sales in Russia are handled by official Apple resellers. However, with Apple stopping the export of Apple products to Russia, these stores may not be able to replenish their stocks once the existing inventory is exhausted.
Apple’s decision to halt product sales in Russia comes barely a week after Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook and requested him to stop device sales in the country. The prime minister also wanted Apple to block App Store access to its Russian customers.
Late last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook also issued a statement where he said he was “deeply concerned” with the entire situation in Ukraine. He said the company was trying to help Apple’s team in Ukraine while also supporting local humanitarian efforts.
Russia and its 144 million people are a fairly significant market for Apple. It remains to be seen how much of an impact the decision has on Apple’s future prospects in Russia.
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