Global Tech Giants Ask Putin to Veto Controversial Software Law

A major industry body of the biggest technology companies operating in Russia has written a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin over a controversial new law demanding pre-installed Russian software on smartphones, Vedomosti reports.

The body, which includes giants Google, Apple and Samsung, says the new law will force major players to reconsider their Russian market strategies, and will harm consumers.

A bill obligating all devices sold in Russia to have local applications pre-installed has already passed both chambers of the parliament and is only awaiting a signature from the president to become law.

In the letter, sent to Putin by the RATEK association, it warns that making local software mandatory for all devices “will have a negative impact on our industry; deteriorate the competitive situation in the field of Russian software and lead to its monopolization.”

The authors of the address also insist that the law may lead to “a decrease in business activity in the consumer electronics and software markets.”

Anton Guskov, a representative of the association, told business daily Kommersant that the legislative move will force major companies to even officially leave the Russian market.

RATEK (Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment) has more than 40 members, which – aside from Google, Apple and Samsung – include such companies as Huawei, Dell, IBM and LG, as well as Russia’s biggest consumer electronic retail chains, and Eldorado.

The law initiative, which the government justifies with security reasons, has been welcomed by Russian internet giants, such as Yandex, and VK, while foreign companies have actively lobbied against it. Fears were voiced that Apple, which only installs its own iOS operation system and apps on its devices, could be forced to quit the $3 billion Russia market if it’s adopted.